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J Korean Acad Fam Med. 2001 Aug;22(8):1204-1213. Korean. Original Article.
Ko SM , Byeon JJ , Lee KH .
Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Seoul Hospital.

BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of non ulcer dyspepsia remains unknown. But Several related factors have been investigated and psychologic factor is one of the possible mechanism. Alexithymia was introduced to explain the psychopathology of psychosomatic disorder. Until now alexithymia has been variously shown to be associated with many psychosomatic disorder, psychiatric disorder, even medical patients. This study is designed to investigate whether non ulcer dyspepsia has more relationship with alexithymia than other illness. METHODS: To compare alexithymia tendency between non ulcer dyspepsia and general medical patients, we collected sample from January to September 1999. Each group of 72 patients were tested using Toronto Alexithymia Scale. RESULTS: A rate of 37.5% of alexithymia was found in the non ulcer dyspepsia group compared with significant lower rate of 19.4% in the general medical patients group. CONCLUSION: Non ulcer dyspepsia patients had more alexithymia compare to general medical patients. This finding shows the alexithymia could be part of the pathophysiology of non ulcer dyspepsia.

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