Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 112-114

Patients with tension-type headaches feel stigmatized


Department of Neurology, Smt. BK Shah Medical Institute and Research Centre, Piparia, Baroda, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Prakash
Department of Neurology, Smt. BK Shah Medical Institute and Research Centre, Piperia, Baroda - 390 1760, Gujarat
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.168640

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The author, a sufferer of tension-type headache (TTH), believes that the word "tension" in "tension-type headache" carries a social stigma and that patients do not accept a diagnosis of TTH readily. TTH is the most common primary headache disorder. The disability of TTH as a burden of society is greater than that of migraine. Absenteeism because of TTH is higher than that due to migraine. However, patients with TTH do not go for consultation. Even the prevalence of new daily persistent headache (NDPH) is 12 times higher at the headache clinic than that of chronic TTH (CTTH). These points hint that TTH patients probably do not want to visit the clinic. The author believes that it could be because of the stigma attached to "tension." Herein, the author has noted the first responses given by 50 consecutive patients with TTH when they were told that they had been suffering from TTH. The first answer of 64% of patients with TTH was "I do not have any tension/stress ." This denial is similar to the denial declared by patients with depression. Depression and tension are similar in the sense that both are considered as a signs of personal weakness. Such a preconception in the society creates a stigma, and patients deny the diagnosis, conceal symptoms, and become reluctant to seek help and treatment.


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