When ADHD Patients Have No Story To Tell

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) and Alexithymia

Patrícia Jorge1
1Centro Hospitalar do Médio Tejo, Psiquiatria, Tomar

Introduction: Alexithymia translates to “no word for feelings” and is used to describe patients who have difficulty identifying, naming and expressing feelings. In psychotherapy sessions with ADHD patients, the professionals frequently observed alexithymia.


Aim and Methods: Revision of the existing studies concerning if and how ADHD and alexithymia are related. Pubmed was used as a research source, with the search terms “attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder” and “alexithymia”.


Results: There are very few studies that attempt to correlate these variables. One study, the first designed to investigate the relationship between alexithymia and ADHD in childhood, showed that children with ADHD have higher alexithymia levels than controls without ADHD. Another study with adults showed the same results.


Discussion and Conclusion: Literature suggests that persons with ADHD have deficits in emotional processing and that these disabilities could affect social interactions. Individuals with alexithymia have low physical functioning, emotional problems, low energy, lower emotional well-being, low social functioning, more pain and less public health. More studies are needed to understand how the two variables are correlated.

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