Objective: Chronic tinnitus has been associated with several psychiatric disorders. Only few studies have investigated these disorders using validated diagnostic interviews. The aims were to diagnose psychiatric and personality disorders with structured interviews, to assess self-rated psychiatric symptoms and elucidate temporal relations between psychiatric disorders and tinnitus.
Design: Current and lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses of axis-I (psychiatric disorders) and axis-II (personality disorders) were assessed using structured clinical interviews (SCID-I and -II). Current subjective psychiatric symptoms were evaluated via self-rating instruments: the Symptom Check List-90 (SCL-90), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES).
Study sample: 83 patients (mean age 51.7, 59% men) with chronic, disturbing tinnitus and a median Tinnitus Handicap Inventory score of 32.
Results: The rates of lifetime and current major depression were 26.5% and 2.4%. The lifetime rate of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (type C) was 8.4%. None of the patients had cluster B personality disorder or psychotic symptoms. The SCL-90 subscales did not differ from the general population, and median DES score was low, 2.4.
Conclusions: Tinnitus patients are prone to episodes of major depression and often also have obsessive-compulsive personality features. Psychiatric disorders seem to be comorbid or predisposing conditions rather than consequences of tinnitus. Clinical trial reference: ClinicalTrials.gov (ID NCT 01929837).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01929837.
Keywords: Personality disorder; Psychiatric disorder; SCID; Structured clinical interview for DSM disorders; Tinnitus.