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Keywords:

  • chronic daily headache;
  • transformed migraine;
  • chronic tension-type headache;
  • psychiatric comorbidity

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.