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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Episodic
and Chronic Migraine
Peterlin BL, Tietjen G, Meng S, et al.
Posted: June 2008  
Headache   2008;48:517-522

Objective:   To assess and contrast the relative frequency of self-reported post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients with episodic migraine (EM) and chronic/transformed migraine (CM).

Background:   Several risk factors have been identified as risk factors for chronification of headache disorders. Childhood abuse has been suggested as a risk factor for chronic pain in adulthood. In addition depression, as well as several other psychiatric disorders, are co-morbid with migraine. Recent data suggest that PTSD may be more common in headache sufferers than in the general population.

Methods:   This was a prospective, pilot study conducted at a headache center. Adult subjects with episodic, chronic, or transformed migraine were included. Demographic information, depression history, body mass index, and headache characteristics were obtained. We contrasted the data from episodic migraineurs and chronic/transformed migraine participants.

Results:   Of the 60 participants included, 91.7% were female. EM was diagnosed in 53.3% and CM in 46.7%. The relative frequency of depression was significantly greater in subjects with CM than EM. However, the relative frequency of PTSD in CM, was significantly greater as compared to EM. After adjusting for depression and other potential confounders, the difference remained significant.

Conclusion:   PTSD is more common in CM than in EM. This suggests that PTSD may be a risk factor of headache chronification, pending longitudinal studies to test this hypothesis.