Abstract

Objective: Headache is the most common type of pain reported by people with schizophrenia. This study aimed to establish prevalence, characteristics and management of these headache.

Method: One-hundred participants with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder completed a reliable and valid headache questionnaire. Two clinicians independently classified each headache as migraine (MH), tension-type (TTH), cervicogenic (CGH) or other (OH).

Results: The twelve-month prevalence of headache (57%) was higher than the general population (46%) with no evidence of a relationship between psychiatric clinical characteristics and presence of headache. Prevalence of CGH (5%) and MH (18%) was comparable to the general population. TTH (16%) had a lower prevalence and 19% of participant’s experienced OH. No-one with MH was prescribed migraine specific medication, no-one with CGH and TTH received best-practice treatment

Conclusion: Headache is a common complaint in people with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder with most fitting recognised diagnostic criteria for which effective interventions are available. No-one in this sample was receiving best-practice care for their headache.

Keywords

schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, headache, prevalence, management

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