Alexithymia is characterized by difficulties in recognizing and verbalizing feelings, a paucity of fantasy life, concrete speech, and thought closely tied to external events. The alexithymia construct, formulated from clinical investigations, is multifaceted and includes four distinct characteristics: 1) difficulty identifying and describing feelings; 2) difficulty distinguishing feelings from bodily sensations; 3) diminution of fantasy; and 4) concrete and minimally introspective thinking. An increasing body of studies indicates that alexithymic features exist not only in classic psychosomatic disorders but also in other severe and chronic somatic diseases and psychiatric disorders such as Major Depression, and other Axis I disorders, such as Anxiety Disorders. The aim of the present review was to elucidate the relationships between alexithymia and Anxiety Disorders, in order to investigate the possible psychopathological and therapeutic implications.
Keywords: Emotions, alexithymia, anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia
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