The Russian physician found out that disturbances in the perception of emotions arise as a defensive reaction. A trait known as alexithymia helps a person avoid depressive disorders under stress. The study was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research .
Alexithymia is a psychopathic trait, the characteristic features of which are that a person does not know how to recognize his own and other people’s emotions, the number of emotional reactions in a patient with alexithymia is reduced. According to various studies, from 5% to 23% of the population suffer from this disease.
Dmitry Davydov, a neurophysiologist from the Research Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology, conducted an experiment, thanks to which it was possible to find out that alexithymia avoids depression in the existing difficult social conditions of modern life. According to Davydov, in order for alexithymics to successfully socialize during corrective measures, it is necessary to make their living conditions more favorable. Otherwise, all attempts to get rid of alexithymia are unproductive from the point of view of maintaining the mental and physical health of patients.
“The number of people with depression is growing in the world, which implies the risk of developing, in particular, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. At the same time, there is a process of increasing persons with resilient (protective) mechanisms, one of which is high alexithymia . However, until recently, alexithymia was considered a risk for psychosomatic health and methods for its correction were proposed, ”said Davydov.
The scientist and his colleagues analyzed the physiological, behavioral and subjective processes in people’s perception of films and images that evoke certain feelings. The studied processes include nervous activity, the level of conduction of nerve endings in the face, eye movements, skin sensitivity and other signs. The study involved people with different levels of alexithymia – from mild disturbances in the perception of emotions to psychopathic behavior.
“Our group has shown that alexithymia occurs against a background of negative external conditions to protect the psyche from depression. Untimely correction of alexithymia can aggravate a person’s negative mental state, ”concluded Davydov.