Alexithymia / DESR deficient emotional self-regulation


Warrior Mom since 2007
These are two terms I was unaware of before now. I have been trying to figure out what causes oppositional behavior and am always reading and researching various things. I came across both of these today and wanted to put this out there in case it might be useful to others - and also to remind me to read more about them.

Alexithymia /ˌeɪlɛksəˈθaɪmiə/ is a personality construct characterized by the sub-clinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.[1] The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating.[2] Furthermore, individuals suffering from alexithymia also have difficulty in distinguishing and appreciating the emotions of others, which is thought to lead to unempathic and ineffective emotional responding.[2] Alexithymia is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population and is known to be comorbid with a number of psychiatric conditions.[3]

DESR deficient emotional self-regulation:
More than half of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have trouble regulating their emotions, and that difficulty may be passed through families, a new study shows.
Researchers are calling this cluster of symptoms deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR). It involves quick bursts of outsized anger, frustration, impatience, or excitability in response to everyday events.


Active Member
My daughter fits both these descriptions....this worn out mum said with a sigh! Thanks for the info.

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Well-Known Member
Oooph. That DESR sure fits my 7 year old grandson. Interesting about the hereditary piece. It's SO much like his father and grandfather! Is this tied in or analogous to executive functioning? It seems to be getting better with age, but we have a long way to go. Interesting. I haven't seen these terms before and I'm in special education.