Psychiatric comorbidity in patients with spasmodic dysphonia: a controlled study

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007 Dec;78(12):1398-400. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2007.121699. Epub 2007 Jul 5.


Objectives: To study the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity assessed by a structured clinical interview in patients with spasmodic dysphonia (SD) compared with patients suffering from vocal fold paralysis (VFP).

Methods: In 48 patients with SD and 27 patients with VFP, overall psychiatric comorbidity was studied prospectively using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders. Physical disability and psychometric variables were assessed with standardised self-rating questionnaires.

Results: 41.7% of SD subjects and 19.5% of the control group met DSM-IV clinical criteria for current psychiatric comorbidity (p<0.05). Significant predictors of psychiatric comorbidity in SD were severity of voice impairment and subjective assessment of "satisfaction with health". As a limitation, the severity of voice impairment in patients with SD was nearly twice as high, and their illness had lasted nearly twice as long.

Conclusions: We found a high prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity in patients with SD. The significant correlation between current psychiatric comorbidity and the extent of voice pathology may point to an especially strong interaction between somatic and psychiatric complaints in SD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Torticollis / epidemiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / epidemiology*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / psychology*
  • Voice Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Voice Disorders / psychology*