Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lexicon of Madness -- Alexithymia

Alexithymia: The inability to describe one's own emotions or mood, or difficulty in being aware of what one is feeling. Alexithymia is more common in males than females. Developmental studies have shown that girls have far larger "emotional vocabularies" than boys do, and that parents are much more likely to ask their daughters about their feelings than they are to ask their sons. Depressed North American men are more likely to report feeling "fine" than to say, "I'm depressed." Anger and irritation are more likely to be reported than feelings of sadness or helplessness. When asked "How have you been feeling lately?" a depressed man might say, "Well, my wife says I've been kinda grouchy lately." Some of the reasons that women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression are 1) women are more likely to seek clinical help; and, 2) clinicians are more likely to focus on subjective reports of depressed mood. When assessing adult males, it is critical to evaluate other symptoms of depression -- even when depressed mood is denied. These symptoms included disturbed appetite or sleep, fatigue, diminished concentration, diminished interest in pleasurable activities (including sex), and suicidal ideation.

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