Clinical Neuroscience

Psychoform and somatoform dissociative experiences in migraine: relationship with pain perception and migraine related disability

SENGUL Yildizhan1, SENGUL Serdar Hakan2, TUNC Abdulkadir3

NOVEMBER 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(11-12)


Objective - Migraine is a common and often debilitating disorder. Although the existence of a link between migraine and certain psychological features has long been known, data on dissociative experiences in migraine patients is insufficient. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of psychoform and somatoform dissociative experiences among migraine patients without aura and to examine their relationship with pain perception and disability. Methods - A total of 110 outpatients diagnosed with migraine based on the International Classification of Headache Disorders-III (ICHD-III) criteria and 70 healthy subjects were enrolled to this study. Sociodemographic data, Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire (SDQ), Dissociative Experience Scale (DES), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Beck Anxiety Scale (BAS) scores were recorded for each patient. The Migraine Impairment Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS) and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores were also determined. Results - The mean SDQ and DES scores were significantly higher in migraine patients (p<0.001, p<0.01). According to SDQ, somatoform dissociation disorder, dissociative disorder not otherwise specified, and dissociative identity disorder were considered in 29.4%, 18.3%, and 10.1% of the migraine patients, respectively. Also, 20.9% of the patients had possible psychoform dissociation according to DES. A significant positive correlation was found between DES, SDQ scores, and VAS, MIDAS scores. Patients were found to have statistically significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms compared to healthy controls (p < 0.001). Higher DES and SDQ scores were associated with increased disability and pain level (p<0.01). Conclusion - Our findings seem to confirm the increased occurrence of somatoform and psychoform dissociative experiences in migraine patients. This study was intended as a beginning towards understanding dissociative experiences in migraine.


  1. Bezmialem Vakif University Hospital, Department of Neurology, İstanbul, Turkey
  2. Gaziosmanpasa Taksim Ilkyardim Research and Training Hospital, Department of Psychology, İstanbul, Turkey
  3. Sakarya University Research and Training Hospital, Department of Neurology, İstanbul, Turkey



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