Have you ever heard about the term alexithymia?

“I’m blind, emotionally blind”

Alexithymia is a personality construct characterized by difficulty in recognizing and expressing emotions. It is associated with disruptions to emotional processing, regulation, and empathy. People who have Alexithymia may have difficulty understanding their own feelings or identifying and interpreting the feelings of others. This can lead to difficulties in forming meaningful relationships, which can impact overall wellbeing. Alexithymia is especially common among those with autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

However, it is important to note that not everyone who has difficulty expressing their emotions has Alexithymia. For a diagnosis of Alexithymia to be made, the individual must have persistent difficulties in identifying and verbalizing their emotions. They must also have a lack of fantasy, difficulties in describing how they feel and an externally-oriented thinking style.

Symptoms of alexithymia

- Poor performance in the social situations and society as a whole,
- Difficulties with articulating emotions,
- Troubles with naming different kinds of emotions,
- The lack of impulse control,
- Inability to understand the emotions of others and their own,
- Misinterpreting the reactions of the ambient circle of people,
- Having difficulties maintaining relationships,
- Willingness to provoke the emotions with stimulants,
- Functioning accordingly to learned patterns of behavior,
- Being logical and factual but unable to react emotionally to anything,
- Receiving the world pessimistically (This can lead to depression),
- Confusing physical and emotional sensations,
- Inability to establish strong partnership relationships,
- Limited capacity to understand the reasons behind certain emotions and to be empathic.

There are several possible causes:

- Brain damage,
- Genetic predisposition,
- Emotional abuse,
- Psychical abuse,
- Social factors, e.g. boys don't cry.

In our culture, focused on emotions and the most intense experience of all kinds of sensations, persons suffering from symptoms of alexithymia tend to be marginalized in society. Without insight into their feelings, they are unable to demonstrate them to others. Just experiencing emotions is not enough for proper functioning. You still need to have the capacity to recognize them correctly as well as act on them accordingly.. The mind can perceive emotional arousal as physiological arousal, the thrill of excitement could be a mild sensation to the people of this type of personality. Misunderstanding of one's own and people's emotions is a serious issue in social life and most often an obstacle to establishing a long-term, intimate relationship.

"What next?"

The correct diagnosis is essential. Not every case of alexithymia is similar, We must determine how serious the condition we are dealing with is. Working with a sick person begins with developmental therapy. A well-selected therapist or psychologist will help you return to normality and teach you to analyze your feelings and emotions. Learning the Interpersonal skills, empathy and recognizing the emotions is not easy but it is the only method of minimizing the effects of symptoms of alexithymia. Clinical psychologists may use psychotherapy to help individuals with Alexithymia gain insight into their emotions and feelings. The clinical psychologist will work with the individual to identify patterns of behavior that contribute to difficulties in connecting emotionally, as well as exploring any underlying psychological issues that could be contributing to the alexithymic state. Psychotherapy can also help individuals develop better coping strategies, build self-confidence and improve communication skills. It can also provide a safe space in which to express emotions, enabling the individual to gain insight into their emotional experiences and learn more effective ways of managing them. Ultimately, psychotherapy can enable an individual with Alexithymia to become more emotionally aware, leading to better relationships and an overall improved quality of life.