Nijmegen Institute for Scientist-Practitioners in Addiction

Alexithymia in patients with substance use disorders: State or trait?

TitelAlexithymia in patients with substance use disorders: State or trait?
PublicatietypeJournal Article
Jaar van publicatie2014
Auteursde Haan HA, van der Palen J, Wijdeveld AGM, Buitelaar JK, DeJong CA
UitgavePsychiatry Res
Publicatiedatum2014 Jan 10

Previous research on substance use disorders (SUD) has yielded conflicting results concerning whether alexithymia is a state or trait, raising the question of how alexithymia should be addressed in the treatment of SUD-patients. The absolute and relative stabilities of alexithymia were assessed using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and its subscales. In total, 101 patients with SUD were assessed twice during a 3-week inpatient detoxification period while controlling for withdrawal symptoms and personality disorder traits. The relative stability of the total TAS-20 and subscales was moderate to high but showed remarkable differences between baseline low, moderate, and high alexithymic patients. A small reduction in the mean levels of the total TAS-20 scores and those of one subscale revealed the absence of absolute stability. The levels of alexithymia were unrelated to changes in withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety- and depression-like symptoms. The differences between low, moderate, and high alexithymic patients in terms of the change in alexithymia scores between baseline and follow-up indicated a strong regression to the mean. The findings suggest that alexithymia in SUD patients as measured using the TAS-20 is both a state and trait phenomenon and does not appear to be related to changes in anxiety- and depression-like symptoms.

Alternatieve uitgavePsychiatry Res
PubMed ID24534122