Alexithymia : Concept and Implications for Treatment

감정표현불능증 : 그 개념과 치료적 함의

  • Ham, Byung-Joo (Department of Neuropsychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Kim, Leen (Department of Neuropsychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • 함병주 (고려대학교 의과대학 신경정신과학교실) ;
  • 김린 (고려대학교 의과대학 신경정신과학교실)
  • Published : 2002.06.30


Alexithymia represents deficits in the cognitive processing and regulation of emotions. It is observed in many cases of psychosomatic disease, anorexia nervosa, panic disorder, depression etc. Many studies have shown that alexithymia is associated with maladaptive styles of emotion regulation, low emotional intelligence, interhemispheric transfer deficit, and reduced rapid eye movement density. Psychotherapies that enhance emotional awareness may be effective in alleviating the difficulties of alexithymic individuals. Aexithymia is useful for constructing the role of personality and emotions in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders. It may serve as a bridge between neurobiology and psychology. We review recent alexithymia theory and research and their implications for treatment of psychosomatic disorders.