Alexithymia and alcohol use disorders : a critical review

Thorberg, Fred, Young, Ross, Sullivan, Karen, & Lyvers, Michael (2009) Alexithymia and alcohol use disorders : a critical review. Addictive Behaviors, 34(3), pp. 237-245.

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All human beings experience emotion. However a number of individuals have difficulties recognising, processing and regulating their emotions. This set of emotional "deficits' is classified as alexithymia. The prevalence rate of alexithymia in alcohol use disorders is between 45 and 67%. The objective of this paper is to review the published research on alexithymia and alcohol use, assess the methodological quality of this evidence, and draw the findings together to present a critical update on the relationship between alexithymia and alcohol use disorders. Yet, few research studies have comprehensively investigated alexithymia in alcohol use disorders, and a number of key issues still remain to be addressed in exploring the veracity of the link between alexithymia and alcohol use. For example, limited evidence exists regarding the association between alexithymia, alcohol consumption and severity of alcohol dependence. Furthermore, there is no current knowledge about the predictive utility of alexithymia in relation to more well researched and established psychological drinking constructs. Although alexithymia is often considered a risk factor for the development of alcohol use disorders, there is little evidence to support this notion. Given that alexithymia may have the potential to interfere with treatment outcomes, a better understanding of the role of alexithymia in alcohol use is needed.

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ID Code: 17994
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Alexithymia, Alcohol use disorder, Alcoholism, Affect regulation deficit, Critical review
DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.10.016
ISSN: 0306-4603
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 14 Apr 2009 03:39
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:44

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