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Papers: 10 Feb 2024 - 16 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 12

Sci Rep




Early maladaptive schemas in female patients with migraine and tension-type headache.


Yontar G, Ozgan E


Chronic headache is a serious clinical problem in women which psychological factors play major role and requires an approach with bio-psycho-social integrity. Psychiatric comorbidities such as anxiety disorder and major depression are frequent. Young described Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS) as maladaptive and dysfunctional patterns that appear due to unpleasant situations occurred between patient and people who were important to him. EMS affect perception, emotions, thoughts and behaviors that makes a basis for many disorders. EMS are found to be related with depression, anxiety and somatization within recent literature. In literature, chronic pain and migraine’s relationship with EMS were studied before in a few separate articles. However, there is a lack of data that compares the relationship between EMS and clearly distinguished headache types: migraine (MH) and tension-type headache (TTH) especially in female patients who are more prone to somatic complaints/findings. Our study directly compared three groups, migraine and tension type headache and healthy controls. 150 female patients with chronic headache were enrolled for study in consecutive fashion. Exclusion criteria were as follows: age < 18 or > 60 years, male gender, existence of comorbidity affecting central nervous system, headache due to drug/substance abuse, previous diagnosis of migraine with aura, previous diagnosis of psychotic disease, mental retardation, cognitive disorders, being in delirium state. Patients were grouped into two categories according to type of headache and a third control group. All patients were evaluated with Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ) and their scores were noted and categorized in related schema domains. Sociodemographic data were comparable among groups. However, there were significant differences in terms of previous psychiatric diagnosis and psychiatric drug usage. When we compared YSQ scores, groups differed in many schema categories. MH group showed significantly higher scores in dependency/incompetency, unrelenting standards and punitiveness schemas when compared to remaining two groups. TTH group had significantly more points in emotional deprivation, vulnerability to harm or illness schemas among all groups. On the other hand, control group had significantly higher scores in insufficient self-discipline and entitlement/grandiosity schemas when compared to both MH and TTH groups. Presence of EMS in female patients with headache significantly differed from control group. Types of EMS were also significantly different between patients with MH and TTH among this whole headache group. We suggest that a comprehensive psychotherapeutic approach that targets to improve coping methods for distinct EMS in distinct headache types would provide critical aid to general treatment of headaches especially in resistant cases.