Relationship between Migraine and Alexithymia among adolescents and their mothers
Headache is a common disorder affecting a growing number of children and adolescents. In recent years, there has been an increase in scientific interest in exploring the relationship between migraine and emotional regulation and in particular, the impact of emotional dysregulation on mental and physical health.
To explore the relationship between migraine and Alexithymia among adolescents and their mothers as well as the impact of this association on mental health. An additional aim was to verify whether Alexithymia might be a predictor of psycho pathological symptoms in adolescents and mothers with migraines.
In the conducted study, a total of 212 subjects were involved. Samples were divided into (a) Experimental Group (EG) consisted of 106 subjects (53 adolescents and 53 mothers) with a diagnosis of migraine according to International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3) and (b) Control Group (CG) including 106 subjects (53 adolescents and 53 mothers) without a diagnosis of migraine. All participants completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale to assess Alexithymia and the symptom checklist- 90-R to assess psychopathological symptoms. After analysis, higher rates of Alexithymia were found in the adolescents and mothers of EG when compared to adolescents and mothers of CG. Furthermore, adolescents and mothers experienced both migraine and Alexithymia, demonstrated a higher risk of psychopathology.
Findings provided the important information that the co-occurrence of migraine and Alexithymia increased the risk of psychopathology for both adolescents and their mothers. However, the knowledge of relationship between somatic symptoms such as primary headaches, alexithymia and psychological problems could provide important clinical information for a preventive, targeted and efficacious treatment program.