The personality construct alexithymia is characterized by the difficulty in identifying and describing feelings with an externally oriented thinking pattern and a limited imaginative capacity (Nemiah et al., 1976). Alexithymia was first described as a specific cognitive and affective style of patients with classic psychosomatic diseases who showed little insight into their emotions and failed to respond to dynamic psychotherapy (Sifneos, 1967). Studies have found that alexithymia contributes to various medical conditions, including gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, chronic pain, renal failure, eating disorders, panic disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorders (Taylor et al., 1997). Alexithymia has been recognized as a risk factor for various physical and mental health problems; however, the mechanism that links alexithymia with these physical symptoms remains unclear.
- Functional dyspepsia
- Functional gastrointestinal disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Somatoform amplification
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