Organic alexithymia: a study of acquired emotional blindness

Rodrigo Becerra, Andrew Amos, Steven Jongenelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The phrase `organic alexithymia’ is introduced as a clinically and theoretically useful construct for
furthering understanding of alexithymia and the occurrence of alexithymic symptoms in patients with
acquired brain injury (ABI). The construct is illustrated by the case study of HR, a 21-year-old man
seen at the State Head Injury Unit, Perth, for neuropsychological and clinical assessment 2 years
following a motor vehicle accident. HR’s case supports the hypotheses that a syndrome substantially
similar to alexithymia can occur in patients with acquired brain injury, and that the acquired nature of
the organic disorder may cause it to be systematically different from the established syndrome. The case
demonstrates the clinical relevance of a construct like organic alexithymia when treating patients with
ABI. It also highlights the need to develop instruments capable of identifying the condition and
differentiating it from symptoms of depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-645
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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