THE OVERLAP BETWEEN ALEXITHYMIA AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME
- 744 Downloads
Alexithymia is characterised by an inability to express emotions verbally and by improvished fantasy and imaginal life. Individuals so affected may also experience difficulty in distinguishing emotional states from bodily sensations. Alexithymia is thought of as a psychosomatic disorder since the inability to identify and verbalise feelings may predispose to somatization. The term was coined by Sifneos (1972) but descriptions of conditions with alexithymic features predate this work. Aetiological theories of the disorder have variously emphasised genetic, neuropshysiological, developmental and psychodynamic factors (Krystal, 1998; Parker & Taylor, 1997). Like Alexithymia, Asperger’s disorder is also characterised by core disturbances in speech and language and social relationships. Here we aim to demonstrate that there is considerable overlap in the clinical presentation of persons with a diagnosis of Alexithymia and Asperger’s syndrome.
As John Nemiah (1996) points out...
KeywordsAutism Spectrum Disorder Facial Emotion Alexithymia Serotonin Transporter Gene Thinking Style
Dr. Bellgrove is supported in part by a Wellcome Trust (UK) International Biomedical Research Collaboration Grant on Autism.
- Damasio, A. R., & Maurer, R. G. (1978). A neurological model for childhood autism. Archives of Neurology, 35Google Scholar
- Egan M. F., Goldberg T. E., Kolachana B. S., Callicott J. H., Mazzanti C. M., Straub R.E., Goldman, D. and Weinberger, D. R. (2001). Effect of COMT Val 108/158 Met Genotype on Frontal Lobe Function and Risk for Schizophrenia Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 98(12): 6917–6922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Freyberger, H. (1977). Supportive psychotherapeutic techniques in primary and secondary Alexithymia. In: W. Brautigam & M. von Rad (Eds.), Theory of Psychosomatic Disorders. Basil: KragerGoogle Scholar
- Freyberger, H. Psychosomatic aspects of an intensive care unit. In: Howels modern perspective in the psychiatric aspects of surgery. Brunner-Mazel, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Hermelin, B., & O’Connor, N. (1967). Remembering of words by psychotic and subnormal children. British Journal of Psychology, 58Google Scholar
- Kim S. J., Cox N., Courchesne R., Lord C., Corsello C., Akshoomoff N., Guter, S., Leventhal, B. L., Courchesne, E. and Cook, E. H. (2002). Transmission disequilibrium mapping at the Serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) region in autistic disorder Molecular Psychiatry 7(3): 278–288PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Klin, A. & Volkmar, F. (2000a). Treatment and intervention guidelines for individuals with asperger’s syndromeGoogle Scholar
- Klin A., Volkmar F., Sparrows S., (eds) (2000b). Asperger’s syndrome. Guildford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Krystal, H. (1998). Integration and self-healing: Affect-trauma – alexithymia. Published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- Marty, P., & de M’Uzan, M. (1963). La Pensee Operatoire. Revue Francaise De Psychanalyse 27 (Suppl.)Google Scholar
- McDougall J., (1978). Primitive communication and the use of countertransference Contemporary Psychoanalysis 14: 173–209Google Scholar
- McDougall J., (1982). Alexithymia, psychotomatosis and psychosis International Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 9: 377–388Google Scholar
- McDougall J., (1984). The ‘disaffected’ patient: Reflections on affect pathology Psychanalytic Quarterly 53: 386–409Google Scholar
- Nemiah J., (1977). Alexithymia Psychother Psychosomatics 28: 199–206Google Scholar
- Parker J., Tylor G., (1997). The neurobiology of emotion, affect relation, and Alexithymia. In Taylor G., Bagby R.M., Parker J.D., (eds). Disorders of affect regulation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Shriberg, L. D., Paul, R., McSweeney, J. L., Klin, A. M., Cohen, D. J., & Volkmar, F. R., (2001). Speech and prosody characteristics of adolescents and adults with high functioning autism and asperger’s syndrome. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 44(5), 1097–1115Google Scholar
- Task Force Report of American Psychiatric Association (1989). Treatment of psychiatric disorders. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
- Taylor, G., Bagby, R., & Parker J. (1997). Disorders of affect regulation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar