Psychiatric comorbidity in patients with burning mouth syndrome

Psychosom Med. 1998 May-Jun;60(3):378-85. doi: 10.1097/00006842-199805000-00028.


Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and type of psychiatric disorders coexisting with burning mouth syndrome (BMS), to compare the clinical features of patients with BMS alone with patients with multiple diagnoses, and to investigate the number and severity of life events that occur before the onset of BMS.

Method: There were 102 patients with BMS, with no possible local or systemic causes, who were evaluated according to the diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV. All axis I diagnoses for which the patients met criteria at intake or lifetime were determined. Life events were evaluated for a period of 6 months before the onset of BMS. A statistical comparison between patients and a matched control group was performed first; moreover, patients with BMS alone were compared with patients with comorbid BMS.

Results: Although 29 (28.4%) BMS patients were not given any other lifetime psychiatric diagnosis, high rates of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses were found. The most prevalent concurrent diagnoses were depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorder. No significant differences emerged in clinical features between patients with and without other current psychiatric disorders. The severity of life events, rather than in their number, was significantly associated with BMS.

Conclusions: BMS has high psychiatric comorbidity but can occur in the absence of psychiatric diagnoses.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*