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The aim of our study was to evaluate the relationships between alexithymia and suicidal ideation in a sample of adult outpatients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
A sample of 90 adult outpatients with DSM-IV diagnosis of OCD were tested with tested with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI) and Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
35 subjects were categorized as alexithymics and showed earlier onset, longer duration of illness and more likelihood to have a chronic course than nonalexithymics; they also scored higher on the MADRS and SSI. Results of a linear regression showed that chronic OCD course together with Difficulty in Identifying Feelings dimension of TAS-20 and higher MADRS scores were significantly associated with higher scores on the SSI.
Suicidal ideation is frequent among adult outpatients with OCD and is strongly related to the presence of alexithymia and depressive symptoms. Implications are discussed.
The aim of our study was to evaluate relationships between alexithymia and suicidal ideation a sample of adult outpatients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
A sample of 86 adult outpatients with OCD (44 females and 42 males), was evaluated with a series of rating scales such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI) and Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). the score of item #11 on the Y-BOCS was considered as a measure of insight.
Alexithymics showed a more early onset, a longer duration of illness and were more suitable to have a chronic course than nonalexithymics; they also reported higher MADRS and SSI scores. Alexithymics without insight (n=21) reported higher SSI scores than alexithymics with insight, nonalexythimics without insight and nonalexithymics with insight. A linear regression showed that chronic OCD course together with DIF dimension of TAS-20 and higher MADRS scores were significantly associated with higher suicide risk.
Alexithymia and depressive symptoms were highly correlated in OCD patients and were significantly associated with higher suicide risk. DIF dimension of TAS-20 seems to be significantly associated with presence of suicidal ideation as well as chronic course of disorder. However, further longitudinal studies on larger samples are needed to definitely clarify this topic.