Online Counseling for Alexithymia or Difficulty in Recognizing Feeling

Online Counseling for Alexithymia or Difficulty in Recognizing Feeling

September 09 2022 TalktoAngel 0 comments 1388 Views

Alexithymia, Its Components, Types and Causes

Alexithymia is described as an individual’s inability to recognize the complexities of emotions and feelings. It is also defined as a lack of emotional awareness of self and others. It impacts relationships, social attachment, ability to distinguish emotions, emotional responses, showing empathy, and emotional connection with self and surroundings. Although this concept is unpopular and not recognized in DSM-5 yet, it is quite common. It is estimated that every 1 in 10 individuals is suffering from alexithymia. It is more common in men than in women. It often occurs with already existing mental health issues, like depression and other stress-related disorders.

There are two components of alexithymia, cognitive and affective. The cognitive component is an individual’s inability to think, understand, and name an emotion. The affective component is the inability to connect or respond emotionally and empathetically.

Types of alexithymia include trait and state. Trait alexithymia is an inherited personality characteristic caused either due to inheritance, neglect, or abuse in early childhood. State alexithymia is temporary and is caused by experience of a horrifying event.

There are various causes of alexithymia, though not well understood. It can be caused due to genetics, neurological disease or injuries like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epilepsy, stroke, etc., and primary mental conditions like depression, eating disorders, trauma, substance abuse, etc.


Impact of Alexithymia

People with alexithymia have difficulty understanding what they are feeling as well as what others are feeling. An individual with this condition is considered strange, socially awkward, and unempathetic. They often feel disconnected and cannot relate or connect with things around them. Individuals with alexithymia sometimes know that they are experiencing something, but they don’t know what they are feeling and how to describe it. This may cause irritation and annoyance for an individual experiencing it as well as for people around. Alexi-thymic individuals are more prone to stress and emotional arousal as they are unable to recognize the emotions they are feeling. They are also considered Sympathetic and strange in social situations.

Individuals experiencing alexithymia have concerns like difficulty in naming and effectively expressing emotions, difficulty in being empathetic towards others, lack of emotional response, and lack of understanding behind emotions, they have more rational and logical approaches. They are indifferent, have disruptive or violent outbursts, lack impulse control, highly sensitive to physical touch, sound, or sights.


Relationship, Role, and Conflicts

Marriage is a relationship between two adult individuals, providing emotional support, and economic support and effectively playing their roles and responsibilities in a marriage, regarding home, partner, child-rearing, health, and overall well-being. These two individuals planning to tie the knot in a marriage bond can be man and woman, man and man, woman, and woman, basically two consenting adults irrespective of any other factor like gender, race, religion, etc.

The strength of a marriage lies in the hands of both the partner as an individual and as a couple. If your partner hits their lows then you should be competent and available emotionally, physically, and mentally to help and support them regain confidence and happiness. For an effective marriage both the partners should work as a team to share every emotion and support in every situation.

Building trust in a relationship it requires effort, communication, and commitment from both partners over time. Similarly, marital conflicts don’t happen over a small issue or difference in opinion, it occurs when the marriage is deeply damaged due to personal, physiological, emotional, or social issues.

One can seek help and guidance from expert relationship counsellors to understand the underlying reasons for Alexithymia and learn ways to restructure cognitive and behavioral expressions.


Relationship Issues With an Alexithymia Individual

Individuals with alexithymia despite the inability to express emotions, do fall into relationships. Although they are unable to express they are aware that they are feeling something and most individuals feel a wide range of emotions. In most situations, individuals with alexithymia may only be able to describe happy, sad, good, or bad, but may not be able to explain the reason behind that emotion to self and others.

We all are emotional beings; emotions enhance the experience of a situation. Metaphorically an individual without emotional competence is like a flower without fragrance, it is still valuable but lacks connection.

Alexithymia plays a crucial role in marital conflicts. An individual’s inability to emotionally connect with one’s self and others leads to various conflicts. In most cases alexithymia is undiagnosed and people are unaware of the issue that their partner or they are facing. Not seeking help leads to various issues faced in marriage and makes it difficult to live together due to alexithymia. They are as follows:

  • Lack of emotional validation: When in a marital relationship an individual is unable to validate the emotions of the partner, they might not feel heard or valued. Lack of emotional response impacts intimacy.
  • Feeling empathy: Inpiduals with alexithymia often try to give solution-based explanations of an issue, which results in discarding the emotional experience of the partner. It is important to be empathetic to feel connected with your partner, people, and the world around you.
  • Inability to express oneself: An inpidual with alexithymia feels a wide range of emotions and experiences physiological responses to their emotions, but their inability to name the emotions puts them in a state of confusion, leads to misunderstanding and staying disconnected from their own needs because various emotions have similar physiological response. For instance, when an inpidual is anxious or excited, in both situations they experience a racing heartbeat. Also, an inpidual is unable to communicate the love they feel for their partner
  • Lack of ability to interpret other’s emotions: They are unable to interpret emotional cues, cannot understand emotional responses, and provide emotional comfort. This may also lead to emotional disconnect, and pilling of emotions and may lead to the breaking of a relationship. For instance, your partner is feeling anxious before a major project and your inability to comfort them might make them feel lonely and left out in the moment of need.
  • Find others feeling illogical: They try to give logical explanations in every situation and rationalize the feelings of the other inpidual. Their inability to understand and interpret emotions also makes it difficult to understand the emotional experience, which makes them sound rude and rigid. For instance, if a person is feeling left out because their partner is unavailable, as a friend instead of comforting them you might end up giving reason and logic and consider them illogical for feeling a certain way. Your partner is feeling annoyed after delivering a baby, instead of comforting them you might give them explanations like it’s a natural process, this happens because of that reason and other explanations, etc., which will lead to conflicts due to lack of comfort.
  • Feeling disconnected: Inability to understand emotional cues and emotional needs of self and others will result in a constant state of disconnect because of lack of relatability. The most crucial thing that connects us all and due to which the world and experiences make sense is emotions and empathy. An inpidual with alexithymia will constantly feel disconnected, lonely, and uncertain in a relationship.

Diagnosis

Alexithymia can be diagnosed by a mental health professional or the best clinical psychologist, since it is not recognized yet in DSM-5, it is done by asking a series of questions. It can be also done using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). It can also be done based on primary mental health conditions. There is no particular method or defined way to give the diagnosis. In case of brain injury, an MRI can be done to check for any damage to the insula.

Treatment

There is no exact treatment method but various other techniques, they are as follows:

  • After the diagnosis, a mental health professional works on various aspects like communication, emotional awareness, emotional response, empathy, social abilities, symptom reduction, etc.
  • It is also done by treating primary mental health issues faced by an individual because, after a complete psychological evaluation, they have a better understanding of what is impacted and related to what. For instance, an individual who suffered emotional abuse in their childhood and due to lack of available safe emotional space in their childhood are more prone to develop alexithymia, impacting their ability to interpret and express emotions and thus impacting their relationship with others at present.
  • It is also done by working on neurological disorders and injuries.

Online Counselling sessions, cognitive behavior therapy, group therapycouple therapy, and psychotherapy to build and enhance emotional awareness, emotional intelligence and experiences One can connect with the Best psychologist in India, online counsellors, Couple Counsellors, and Relationship Counsellors for online counselling.

  • Other methods to enhance emotional resilience are journaling, creative arts, reading, or watching emotional stories.
  • Treatment is more effective when an inpidual gains insight and wants to work on the issues faced through online counseling with the best psychologist in India is of great help in overcoming challenges.
  • You and your partner can have a face-to-face consultation with Dr (Prof) R K Suri, the best couple counsellor & relationship counsellor at Psychowellness Center, Delhi
  • As a partner or peer, you can contribute by providing psychological support and motivating them to work on it
  • As an inpidual suffering from alexithymia, you should be mindful of your physiological response and try to find out the reason behind it either by journaling or using the emotional wheel to identify the emotions.


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