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Table of Contents
Vol. 69, No. 3, 2000
Issue release date: May – June
Section title: Regular Article
Psychother Psychosom 2000;69:117–122
(DOI:10.1159/000012378)

Exploring the Benefits of Group Psychotherapy in Reducing Alexithymia in Coronary Heart Disease Patients: A Preliminary Study

Beresnevaite M.
Laboratory of Cardiological Rehabilitation, Institute of Cardiology, Kaunas Medical University, Kaunas, Lithuania

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Published online: April 17, 2000
Issue release date: May – June

Number of Print Pages: 6
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS

Abstract

Background: Although there is preliminary evidence that alexithymia may influence the course of coronary heart disease (CHD), there are no studies exploring attempts to modify alexithymic characteristics in cardiac patients. Method: Twenty post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients (19 men and 1 woman) were placed in a treatment group, which received weekly group psychotherapy for 4 months. Seventeen post-MI patients (16 men and 1 woman) were placed in a comparison group which received two educational sessions over a period of 1 month. All subjects completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) before the start of group therapy, at the end of the 4-month period, and in follow-up assessment after 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year intervals. Results: In the psychotherapy treatment group, there was a significant reduction in the mean TAS score following group therapy, which was maintained over the 2-year follow-up period. In the educational group, there were no significant changes in mean TAS scores between the initial testing and any of the follow-up intervals. On an individual basis, a decrease to a lower level of TAS scores occurred in a higher percentage of patients in the treatment group than in the educational group. Over the 2-year follow-up period, patients with decreased alexithymia following group therapy experienced fewer cardiac events (reinfarction, sudden cardiac death, or rehospitalization for rhythm disorder or severe angina) than patients whose alexithymia remained unchanged. Conclusions: The results indicate that group psychotherapy is able to decrease alexithymia and that for many patients this change can be maintained for at least 2 years. A reduction in the degree of alexithymia seems to influence favorably the clinical course of CHD.

© 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Published online: April 17, 2000
Issue release date: May – June

Number of Print Pages: 6
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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