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ALEXITHYMIA, A RISK FACTOR IN ALCOHOL ADDICTION? A BRIEF RESEARCH REPORT ON ROMANIAN POPULATION

Vol VIII, No. 2, 2008 Comments (0)

Mircea Al. BIRŢ* (a), Vlaicu ŞANDOR (b), Aura VAIDA (c), Maria Edita BIRŢ (d)
(a) “Prof. Dr. Octavian Fodor” Clinical Emergency Hospital & “Babeş-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
(b) “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
(c) “Prof. Dr. Octavian Fodor” Clinical Emergency Hospital, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
(d) Centre for Diagnose and Treatment, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Abstract

Alexithymia was evaluated on 30 alcoholic patients (23 male and 7 female) with ages between 20 and 55. Assessment was conducted at the time of hospital admission, 2 weeks (post-pharmacotherapy treatment), 24 weeks and 48 weeks after admission. Alexithymia was assessed using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Alcohol use and abstinence were evaluated using the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS). Patients who became abstinent presented a 75% reduction in the total score after 2 weeks of pharmacological treatment. Total abstinence was observed in the case of 13 patients (43.33%) and persistent for 48 weeks. The prevalence of alexithymia in our group at baseline was 63.33%, and it predominated in the type II alcoholism group. Abstinence was found to be mainly related with the third factor of the TAS-20 scale (i.e., externally oriented thinking). There seems to be a relation between the absence of alexithymia and abstinence, and the presence of alexithymia and alcohol use. Thus, alexithymia might be considered a risk factor for alcohol addiction

Keywords: alcoholism, alexithymia, abstinence, dependence, risk factor

Pages: 217-225

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