INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Psychological factors in vertigo patients have been extensively studied but the role of anxiety and personality traits in the clinical course of Ménière's disease (MD) is unknown. The objectives of this study are to identify and characterize psychopathology in MD and to find risk factors for an increased rate and intensity of crisis and chronic symptoms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a transversal study in all patients diagnosed with definite MD in our department during a 5-year period. Sample subjects were interviewed in 3 steps: first, an otorhinolaryngologist collected information about clinical and pharmacological background of MD; second, a psychiatrist screened for mood, anxiety and personality disorders; in a third stage, the patient completed the DHI (Dizziness Handicap Inventory), STAI-Y (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), NEO-PI-R (Neo Personality Inventory Reviewed) and VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) for vertigo and dizziness. Statistical analysis was performed to search for risk factors for multiple and intense crisis and chronic symptoms.
RESULTS: Thirty-four patients completed all 3 phases of the study. A predominant dysfunctional personality trait was identified in 80% of patients (predominantly cluster C type), 35% were being treated with psychiatric medication and 34.4% had a considerable mood or anxiety disorder. All patients scored high (>7) in VAS during crisis. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between crisis rate and STAI, anxiety-subscale (N1) in NEO-PI-R, VAS and DHI scores (p<.044). Crises were more common in bilateral MD (p=.041). DHI scores were higher with higher STAI and N1 (p=.001). Disease duration and pure tone average were found to have a positive moderate correlation (p=.017).
CONCLUSIONS: The positive correlations between crisis rate, chronic dizziness and anxiety-related personality traits reveal a bidirectional and intimate relationship between personality, anxiety and MD, affecting these patients' quality of life. These results support the relevance of prospecting adjuvant psychological and psychiatric approaches to these patients.
- Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology
- Meniere Disease/epidemiology
- Personality Disorders
- Quality of Life