Objective: To investigate the frequency of depressive and anxiety disorders in patients with chronic daily headache.
Background: There is a lack of data in the literature on the extent of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with different subtypes of chronic daily headache.
Methods: We recruited consecutive patients with chronic daily headache seen in a headache clinic from November 1998 to December 1999. The subtypes of chronic daily headache were classified according to the criteria proposed by Silberstein et al. A psychiatrist evaluated the patients according to the structured Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview to assess the comorbidity of depressive and anxiety disorders.
Results: Two hundred sixty-one patients with chronic daily headache were recruited. The mean age was 46 years, and 80% were women. Transformed migraine was diagnosed in 152 patients (58%) and chronic tension-type headache in 92 patients (35%). Seventy-eight percent of patients with transformed migraine had psychiatric comorbidity, including major depression (57%), dysthymia (11%), panic disorder (30%), and generalized anxiety disorder (8%). Sixty-four percent of patients with chronic tension-type headache had psychiatric diagnoses, including major depression (51%), dysthymia (8%), panic disorder (22%), and generalized anxiety disorder (1%). The frequency of anxiety disorders was significantly higher in patients with transformed migraine after controlling for age and sex (P =.02). Both depressive and anxiety disorders were significantly more frequent in women.
Conclusion: Psychiatric comorbidity, especially major depression and panic disorders, was highly prevalent in patients with chronic daily headache seen in a headache clinic. These results demonstrate that women and patients with transformed migraine are at higher risk of psychiatric comorbidity.