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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 161-165

The comparision of the alexithymia in addicted and nonaddicted people in esfahan in 2013


Department of Psychology , Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Nafise Javani
Department of Psychology, No. 8, Setaiesh Alley, Feiz Alley, Khorram St. Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.152240

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  Abstract 

Aim: The present study was conducted to compare alexithymia in addicted and nonaddicted people in Isfahan in 2013. Methods: It had a causal-comparative research method; therefore, 58 addicts who referred to addiction treatment centers of Isfahan were selected through available method. After selecting addicted samples, nonaddicted samples (58 individuals) were chosen from the people living in Isfahan via systematic sampling. Nonaddicted samples were matched to the addicted ones according to the variables of age, gender, educational level, and lodging. The applied instruments in the current study included: The questionnaire of demographic variables and Torento's (1994) 20-item scale of alexithymia. The achieved data were analyzed through MANOVA by SPSS software. Results: The results showed that in general alexithymia (difficulty identifying feelings, difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and extrovert thinking), there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups (P < 0.05). In extrovert thinking subscale, there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups (P < 0.05); however, there is no significant difference between the subscales of difficulty identifying feelings and DDF in addicted and nonaddicted groups (P > 0.05). Conclusion: The general conclusion implies that the alexithymia can be one of the effective factors in an individual's tendency to drug abuse especially in men.

Keywords: Addicted, alexithymia, extrovert thinking


How to cite this article:
Javani N, Aghaei A. The comparision of the alexithymia in addicted and nonaddicted people in esfahan in 2013. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:161-5

How to cite this URL:
Javani N, Aghaei A. The comparision of the alexithymia in addicted and nonaddicted people in esfahan in 2013. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 19];1:161-5. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/2/161/152240


  Introduction Top


Addiction is currently assumed as one of society's catastrophic realities and unfortunately, the mechanisms which have been applied to fight against this destroying phenomenon not only did not have any effect on its removal but also the number of the addicted has relatively increased gradually. [1]

Dependence on opium is one hygienic and social problem in many countries such as Iran.

Having common borders with a poppy growing country, relative low price of this substance, developing outbreak of dependence to opium among all varieties of people contrary to the past, special problems and issues after war and its economic, social and psychological outcomes, not applying efficient ways of quitting, not having organized sustaining methods and not being clear the field of function on the part of administrative principals in fighting against addictive substances have created specific condition in our country which has been followed by increasing growth of the phenomenon of drug abuse. [2]

However, evidence from some other countries implies that through scientific and careful study of addiction in all aspects, its deadly growth can be avoided. One of the important aspects in the realm of addiction which has been accounted for in this study includes alexithymia in addicted people and its comparison with normal people.

The research has showed that the emotional system among addicted people and nonaddicted group has a significant difference. Alexithymia can be pointed out as one of the emotional variables. [3]

Inability in cognitive processing of emotional information and regulating emotions is called alexithymia. [4],[5],[6] Alexithymia is a multi-dimensional organism which has a close and opposite relationship with emotional intelligence and is characterized by the followings: (1) Difficulty identifying feelings and describing feelings, (2) low ability in distinguishing feelings and physical senses resulted from emotional motivation, (3) low imagination, and (4) weak and objective introspective thinking. [5],[7]

Moreover, this structure with the ability to evaluate and show emotion means the person's awareness of mood and thinking associated with it and in fact those suffering from alexithymia are not able to evaluate and state their emotions verbally.

Begby et al.[8] have considered defect in cognitive processing and regulating emotions as a major problem in alexithymia and suggest that the problems regarding experiencing emotions can be assumed a phenomenon along with alexithymia.

However, the other developing view is that emotional alexithymia basically reflects some defects in the capacity of conscious experiencing of emotional feelings which is resulted from emotional motivation of autonomous system activities; in fact, basic descriptions indicate the fact that clinical expressions of alexithymia can be related to decrease or complete lack of conscious emotional experience. [9]

Therefore, alexithymia is a term which is often used to describe people in identifying, processing, and regulating their emotions.

Some researchers [10],[11] have introduced alexithymia as a personality feature. Personality has often been described as a general recognition label for an individual's observable behavior, internal and his/her mentally expressible experiences. [12] Further, the features can be defined as the aspects of individual differences in showing stable and fixed models of thoughts, feelings, and activities. On the contrary to this feature-oriented approach, some research has questioned the time stability of emotional deficiency and introduced it as a state and not an outcome feature of the individual's helplessness. [13] According to this approach, emotional deficiency is just a mechanism to fight for supporting the self against emotional helplessness related to greatly harmful situations. When emotional information cannot be evaluated and understood in the cognitive process, the person affectively and cognitively feels derangement and helplessness. This inability disrupts the organization of the person's affections and cognitions. [14]

The studies regarding neural imaging of emotional deficiency are in its primary stages, and there are a few studies in brain imaging attempting to determine mechanisms related to the brain's emotional deficiency. Some researchers have considered a disorder in Limbic system, abnormal lateralized brain and a problem in the efficiency of the relationship between brain's hemispheres effective in creating this disorder.

Hamidi et al.[15] reported that there is a significant difference among patients suffering from drug abuse and normal people in the scale of general alexithymia and those with drug abuse have more problems and signals comparing to normal ones.

Narimani and Emaieli [3] reported there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted people and also between the group under treatment with methadone and those nonaddicted group in the scale of general alexithymia and each of its three subscales.

Moreover, there observed a significant difference between two groups of addicted and under treatment with methadone in subscales of difficulty in identifying feelings.

Cleland et al.[16] and Haviland et al.[17] showed that alexithymia puts them in the risk of drug and alcohol abuse.

Thorberg et al.[18] reported that the prevalence rate of alexithymia is higher in the population of the people suffering from alcohol dependence.

Haan et al.[19] reported that the alexithymia in patients suffering from drug abuse is a relatively temporary state and is not characterized as a stable feature.

de Haan et al.[20] reported that alexithymia in patients suffering from drug abuse is seen both as a trait and a temporary state and alexithymia is not appeared about changes related to signals similar to depression and anxiety.

Therefore, taking the previous research into account, the importance of this study is specified to investigate alexithymia in addict and nonaddict people. Hence, the present study aims to answer this question that: Is there any difference between those suffering from drug abuse and normal people regarding alexithymia?

In the current study, in addition to making a comparison in alexithymia between addict and nonaddict people, the subscales of this variable (feelings recognition, feelings description, and extroverted thinking) in two groups of addicts and nonaddicts have been investigated.


  Methods Top


The study had a causal-comparative method. Since the current study tries to compare alexithymia among addicted and nonaddicted people, the causal-comparative research method (prospective) was applied.

The statistical population of the study includes two groups:

The statistical population of addicted people: Patients who referred to clinics in Isfahan for quitting in December and January of 2012-2013. Recognizing addiction by the intoxication specialist and clinical psychologist was carried out through recognition interview. In recognition interview via directory recognition and statistical checklist of mental disorders (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-V]), the recognition signs of mental disorders I and II as well as recognition syndrome associated to drug addiction were investigated and the clients who did not have any mental disorder while having DSM-V recognition criteria for drug abuse in the last year were selected for the study. In all cases, the provision to do recognition interview and fill out the questionnaire was the consciousness state and awareness of the addict person.

The number of the people who referred to clinics is not clearly available due to being float.

The statistical population of nonaddicted people: The statistical population of nonaddicted people involved all people with similar gender, age, education, and location to the addicted group. Moreover, according to the personal report and the interviews by the psychologist with normal people, these people did not have the history of referring to the psychotherapist or psychologist too, and they did not suffer from any special psychological disorder.

In order to sample from the population, 58 individuals were selected in available form from the men who referred to clinics of Isfahan. Identifying addiction was done by drug toxicity specialist and clinical psychologist according to the interview. In recognition interview via directory recognition and statistical checklist of mental disorders (DSM-V) of recognition signals disorders of mental-oriented disorders I and II and also recognition symptoms related to drug abuse were investigated and clients who did not have any disorder while they had DSM-V recognition criteria for drug abuse during last year, were selected for the study. In all cases, the condition of doing recognition interview and filling out the questionnaires is to be suitable the alertness and awareness of the addicted client, so 58 addicted clients (male) were selected.

After selecting addicted sample, the nonaddicted samples (58 individuals) were selected through purposeful sampling method from those living in Isfahan. The nonaddicted samples were matched with addicted samples according to the variables of age, gender, academic level (primary, prehigh school, and high school), and location. Moreover, according to the personal report and clinical interview of the psychologist with normal people, they did not have records of referring to a psychiatrist or psychologist and did not have any special psychological disorder.

The subjects were evaluated through 20-item Toronto alexithymia scale. This test is possibly the most useful and valid one among different methods of assessing alexithymia. In this scale, the structure of alexithymia is evaluated in three subscales of difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and externally oriented thinking (EOT).

In the present study, Cronbach alpha coefficients for the components of general alexithymia, DIF, DDF, and EOT, respectively, are: 0.81, 0.78, 0.68, and 0.5.

In this study, the data were analyzed through  SPSS software (SPSS-17 version, IBM company). In order to analyze the data at descriptive level, the indices of frequency, mean and standard deviation and at inferential statistical level, Levin test as well as MANOVA were applied.


  Results Top


In [Table 1], mean and standard deviation of alexithymia and its components are given in addicted and nonaddicted groups.
Table 1: Mean and SD of alexithymia and its components in addicted and nonaddicted groups

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In order to determine the significant difference between two addicted and nonaddicted groups in each variable of the study, MANOVA was used.

The results of MANOVA of alexithymia and its components in addicted and nonaddicted groups have been depicted in [Table 2].
Table 2: The results of MANOVA of alexithymia and its components in addicted and nonaddicted groups

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As it was observed in [Table 2], in general alexithymia, there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups (P < 0.05). The eta square sum equals 0.037; that is, 3.7% of the difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups with the test power of 58% relates to addiction and loss of people. Therefore, the major hypothesis of the study indicating a significant difference in general alexithymia (DIF, DDF, EOT) between addicted and nonaddicted people is confirmed. As it is observed in [Table 2], there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups in EOT (P < 0.05). Eta square equals 0.04; that is, 4% of the difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups with the test power of 61% relates to addiction or loss of people; however, in DIF and DDF, there is no significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups (P > 0.05).


  Discussion and Conclusion Top


The present study was conducted to compare alexithymia between addicted and nonaddicted people. According to the results in [Table 2], it seems that there is a significant difference in general alexithymia and the subscale of EOT between addicted and nonaddicted people, so this hypothesis is confirmed. This result goes along with the findings by Narimani and Emaieli [3] indicating that there is a significant difference between addicted and nonaddicted groups in general alexithymia. Further, it is concomitant with the reports by Cleland et al.[16] and Haviland et al.[17] stating that alexithymia is seen in drug and alcohol abusers and so is it with the report by et al.[18] suggesting that there is greater prevalence rate of alexithymia in people suffering from alcohol dependence.

It is also matched with the report by Abdolmanafi et al.[15] suggesting that there is a significant difference between patients suffering from drug abuse and normal people in the scale of general alexithymia. This consistency implies that the alexithymia can be one of the effective factors in an individual's tendency to drug abuse especially in men. Therefore, the conclusion is that emerging of the emotions is able to improve the people's life quality, as well as their mental health, and decrease the risk of the tendency to drug abuse.

Considering the results of [Table 2], it was observed that there is no significant difference (P > 0.05) in DIF and DDF between addicted and nonaddicted people. This result is not matched with the findings by Narimani and Emaieli [3] suggesting that there is a significant difference in each subscale of alexithymia between addicted and nonaddicted groups. Considering the fact that the population under study is using health care of centers specialized for quitting addiction and in fact they are a small sample of the population's addicts, this lack of difference of the results can be accounted for.


  Limitations Top


The limitation of the study just to the city of Isfahan and being cautious in generalizing the results to the other cities of the country.

Since the work was causal-comparative and not an experimental one, and there probably were many variables which were not controlled regarding the findings, there should be caution in making scientific conclusions.

Taking this fact into account that it was not possible to apply other methods of sampling, the method of available sampling was used.

The findings were about male addicts, so caution in generalizing the results to females is required.


  Suggestions Top


Suggestions for further research

Investigating the degree of prevalence and intensity of alexithymia emotional and its comparison in men and women.

Investigating alexithymia in addicts under treatment.

Investigating the relationship of alexithymia with psychological well-being.

Applicative suggestions

Utilizing teaching programs such as teaching emotional and communicative skills from preschool and school years to the parents and trainers and the principals of the educational system.

Interventions based on early identification of children and adolescents suffering from interpersonal and emotional communication and offering necessary teaching to their parents.

According to the findings in [Table 2], stating the difference in alexithymia between addict and nonaddict groups, the necessity of psychotherapy application in prevention and treatment of addiction with special attention to emotional intelligence is suggested.

 
  References Top

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Abrar newspaper. Addiction: Lets ring the alarm. Tehran; 2000. p. 1.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mokri A. Brief overview of the status of a bus in Iran. Arch Iran Med 2002;5:184-90.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Narimani M, Emaieli AP. The comparison between mood alexithymia and spiritual intelligence in addicted people, the people under treatment with methadone and non-addicted people. Addict Stud 2012;6:7-22.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Bagby RM, Taylor GJ. Affect dysregulation and alexithymia. In: Taylor GJ, Bagby RM, Parker JD, editors. Disorders of Affect Regulation: Alexithymia in Medical and Psychiatric Illness. Cambridge: University Press; 1997. p. 26-45.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Taylor GJ. Recent development in alexithymia theory and research. Can J Psychiatry 2000;45:134-42.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Lane RD, Ahern GL, Schwartz GE, Kaszniak AW. Is alexithymia the emotional equivalent of blindsight? Biol Psychiatry 1997;42:834-44.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Taylor GJ, Bagby RM, Parker JD. Disorders of Affect Regulation: Alexithymia in Medical and Psychiatric Illness . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Parker JD, Taylor GJ, Bagby RM. The 20-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. III. Reliability and factorial validity in a community population. J Psychosom Res 2003;55:269-75.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Henry JD, Phillips LH, Maylor EA, Hosie J, Milne AB, Meyer C. A new conceptualization of alexithymia in the general adult population: Implications for research involving older adults. J Psychosom Res 2006;60:535-43.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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De Gucht V. Stability of neuroticism and alexithymia in somatization. Compr Psychiatry 2003;44:466-71.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Sadock B, Sadock V. Psychiatry Abridged: Behavioral-psychiatry Sciences. 2 nd ed. Translated by Pour Afkari Nosratolah. Tehran: Shahr-e-Ab; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Honkalampi K, Koivumaa-Honkanen H, Lehto SM, Hintikka J, Haatainen K, Rissanen T, et al. Is alexithymia a risk factor for major depression, personality disorder, or alcohol use disorders? A prospective population-based study. J Psychosom Res 2010;68:269-73.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Hamidi S, Rostami R, Farhoodi F, Abdolmanafi A. A study and comparison of Alexithymia among patients with substance use disorder and normal people. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2010;5:1367-70.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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