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Psychiatry Res. 2014 Jan 30;215(1):141-5. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.10.030. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Pre-morbid alexithymia in panic disorder: a cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosciences, Psychiatric Section, University of Parma and Mental Health Department, Local Health Service, Parma, Italy. Electronic address: carlo.marchesi@unipr.it.
2
Department of Neurosciences, Psychiatric Section, University of Parma and Mental Health Department, Local Health Service, Parma, Italy.

Abstract

Whether alexithymia is a personality trait which increases the risk of Panic Disorder (PD) is still debated. In this prospective study, alexithymic levels were evaluated before, during and after an anxious episode. Therefore, the alexithymic levels, the presence of PD and the severity of anxious-depressive symptoms were evaluated, at intervals of about 1 month, in pregnant women, attending the Centers for Prenatal Care, using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Twenty-one women affected by PD and 256 healthy women (controls) were included in the study. Women who developed PD, compared to controls, showed similar TAS-20 and HADS scores during the pre-morbid phase, a significant increase of them during PD and a significant decrease after symptoms improvement, whereas no change was observed in controls. Our data suggest that in pregnant women alexithymia does not represent a personality trait that increases the risk of developing PD, and they support the hypothesis that alexithymia is a state dependent phenomenon in PD pregnant women.

KEYWORDS:

Alexithymia; Panic disorder; Personality; Trait and state

PMID:
24230995
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2013.10.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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