Alexithymia, Physiological Reactivity and Cognitive Appraisa | 46181

Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology

ISSN - 2155-9562


Alexithymia, Physiological Reactivity and Cognitive Appraisals of Emotional Stimuli in Opiate Dependents: A Pilot Study.

Marco Torrado, Hugo Silva, Susana Eusébio, Ana Fred and Silvia Ouakinin

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate psychophysiological reactivity to daily-life stimuli in opiate
dependents and associations with alexithymia. Methods: The sample (n=72) was composed of a heroin addicts
group treated with methadone and a healthy group, studied in several variables. Participants completed the
Portuguese versions of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 items, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the
Mini-Mental State Examination. They were also exposed to images from The International Affective Pictures System
(IAPS) and physiological parameters and ratings of valence and arousal were collected. Results: Opiate dependents
showed more alexithymia than controls and higher autonomic reactivity to stimuli. Higher levels of alexithymia
seems to moderate an inverse association between heart rate and cognitive appraisals of unpleasant stimuli in this
sample. Conclusion: A dysregulated brain-peripheral integration increased by the long term-use of drugs and
damage in prefrontal regions are discussed as potential etiological factors supporting the presence of emotional
deficits in these populations.