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Psychopathology and Psychiatric Disorders in Psychiatric Out-patients with Migraine Headache

Author(s): Shakya DR

Background: Migraine headache affects about 12% of adult population. Psychiatric problems are reported higher among migraineurs and they increase the morbidity burden. We conducted this study to sort-out psychiatric symptoms and mental disorders among psychiatry out-patients with migraine headache.

Method: In this hospital-based descriptive study, we analyzed 100 consecutive migraine patients consulting in a psychiatric out-patient clinic. Migraine diagnosis was made according to the ‘International Headache Society Classification- IHS-C, 2004’; psychopathologies were assessed with help of the ‘Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale’ (BPRS) and psychiatric diagnoses were made as per the ‘International Classification of Diseases: ICD-10’.

Results: Eighty (80%) subjects were female and 72% married in this study. Nearly half (48%) had family history of similar headaches and 20% of psychiatric illness. At least some significant psychopathology was found in all of these subjects and the ICD-10 diagnosis of ‘mental and behavioural disorders’ was present in 80%. Mood (mainly depression) and anxiety disorders were the most common psychiatric co-morbidities. Besides headache; other somatic symptoms, anxiety, tension and irritability were the most common BPRS symptom items.

Conclusion: Migraine headache is associated with various psychiatric symptoms, mainly: somatic symptoms, anxiety, tension and irritability. A number of psychiatric disorders, mainly depression may co-occur in migraine headache. Hence, the vigilance for psychiatric problem should be increased in Migraine cases.

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