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The importance of anxiety and depression as factors in chronicization of primary headaches


A multicenter study was carried out in 10 Italian headache centers to investigate the prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with chronic daily headache(CDH). The study investigated 219 patients (171 F; 48 M) including 53 cases of chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), 99 cases of CTTH+ migraine and 67 cases of transformed migraine (TM). The type of headache diagnosed at the beginning was episodic tension-type headache (ETTH, n=32), ETTH + migraine (n=2), CDH ab initio (n=22), migraine with/without aura (n=151), not classifiable migraine (n=7) and not classifiable headache (n=3). The assessment of anxiety and depression was carried out using a Zung self-rating scale for anxiety (Zung A) and for depression (Zung D). The results show that anxiety and depression levels, in each group, were related to sex (F>M). Anxiety, but not depression, was related to the length of chronicization process. Anxiety and depression did not correlate with type of headache at onset, with ongoing headache or, surprisingly, with the abuse of anti-inflammatory drugs. These data suggest the chronicization is a biological and psychological trait.

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Cerbo, R., Prudenzano, M., Barbanti, P. et al. The importance of anxiety and depression as factors in chronicization of primary headaches. J Headache Pain 1, S45–S48 (2000).

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  • Key words Chronic daily headache
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Overuse of analgesics
  • Zung scale


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