Is headache only headache? Comorbidity of headaches and mental disorders
Keriman Akyıldız, Mustafa Sercan, Nebil Yıldız, Ayşe Çevik, Aysu Kıyan
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Article No: 4   Article Type :  Research
Objective: To determine the psychiatric disorders comorbid with headaches and the characteristics of these disorders.

Method: Patients who admitted to the neurology outpatient clinic with a main complaint of headache (n=71), and the same number of age and sex matched patients (n=71) who admitted to the psychiatry outpatient clinic and had a non-psychotic diagnose in axis I were included into the study. Socio-demographic data and information about their headaches were obtained from all patients. The Visual Analog Scale and MINI-scan form were obtained and psychiatric diagnoses were made after the assessment by MINI.

Results: There was not any difference between headache and psychiatric patients group in terms of socio-demographic data. Headache history was found higher in the families of headache group than the psychiatric patients group. High prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity was found in patients with headache (80.3%). All of the patients with tension-type headache (TTH) fulfilled the criteria for diagnosing a pain disorder by MINI, and also the high prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity (63.4%) was still taking place after excluding the pain disorder. The most frequent diagnose of psychiatric comorbidity was found as depressive disorders (64.8%) which is compatible with the literature.

Discussion: The high prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity with headache is remarkable. More common family history of headache in headache patients than the other group suggests that there is a tendency to have headache independent from a psychiatric disorder in these patients. High comorbidity rate in the presence of psychosocial stressors suggests that there is a continuum among psychiatric comorbidity, headache and psychosocial stressors. Among the psychiatric comorbidity, depressive disorders predominate. On the other hand, the higher frequency of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with TTH is remarkable. It is observed that the uncertainty between the diagnostic criteria of pain disorder in DSM-IV and diagnostic criteria of TTH (Tension Type Headache) in ICHD (International Classification of Headache Disorders) causes some problems both in diagnosing and treatment of patients and also in researches.
Keywords : Anxiety, headache, depression, psychiatric comorbidity
Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences 2015;28:34-46
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