Does alexithymia differentiate between patients with nonepileptic seizures, patients with epilepsy, and nonpatient controls?

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Nov;7(3):430-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.06.006. Epub 2005 Aug 10.


Considering the evidence of an association between alexithymia and somatization, this study aimed to discover whether alexithymia could distinguish patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (NES) from those with epilepsy (ES) and nonpatient controls (C). Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) scores were obtained from 21 matched participants from each of these groups, together with measures of anxiety and depression. Overall TAS-20 scores did not differentiate the three groups after controlling for anxiety and depression, but scores on certain subscales of the TAS-20 differed significantly between the patient groups and the controls. Although alexithymia could not discriminate individuals with NES from those with organic manifestations, whether the etiology of alexithymia may differ according to patient group was discussed. Given that 90.5% of NES patients were identified as alexithymic, treatment approaches used for individuals with alexithymia may be usefully applied to those with NES.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sample Size
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Self Concept