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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 57-62

Alexithymia governing neurosis: A comparative study between patients and caregivers

1 Department of Psychiatry and Deaddiction Centre, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Apala Aggarwal
Department of Psychiatry and Deaddiction Centre, Room No. 16, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi - 110 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_58_17

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Context: Individuals with neurotic disorders are believed to have alexithymia, which not only acts as a substrate for neurosis but also poses difficulties in delivering psychotherapeutic intervention to these patients. Aims: This study aims to study and compare alexithymia among patients of neurosis and their caregivers. Settings and Design: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the Department of Psychiatry of a Tertiary Government Hospital in Delhi. Materials and Methods: Fifty consecutive patients of neurosis (as per ICD-10) and their caregivers were assessed using Hindi versions of Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) and Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20) after taking written informed consent. Statistical Analysis: Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent t-test, ANOVA, and multiple linear correlation. Results: The mean age of patient and caregiver groups was comparable (35.86 ± 10.6 and 36.04 ± 10.6 years) with no significant difference on socio-demographic parameters. The patient group had significantly higher scores of total TAS and also on parameters of difficulty identifying feelings, difficulty describing feelings and externally oriented thinking (P < 0.000). Total PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores were significantly correlated to TAS scores (total and 3 domains) in both groups. Females scored higher than males (P = 0.022, PC = 0.324) and age showed negative correlation (P = 0.036, PC = −0.297) with total TAS scores in the patient group. Conclusion: The study shows that alexithymia is more common in patients with neurosis as compared to their caregivers. Besides, it is closely related to neurotic traits in the caregivers who scored high on PHQ-9 and GAD-7 despite being free of a diagnosable illness.

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