Table 2

Comorbidities and social and occupational function

ComorbiditiesAll, (%)Probably functional
n=35, (%)
Possibly structural n=4, (%)Probably structural n=10, (%)
Migraine33 (67)27 (77)4 (100)2 (50)
Irritable bowel syndrome17 (35)15 (43)2 (50)0
Chronic pain12 (24)9 (26)3 (75)0
Functional neurological disorder12 (24)11 (31)1 (25)0
 Non-epileptic attack disorder8 (16)8 (16)00
Fibromyalgia11 (22)8 (16)3 (6)0
Autoimmune disorder (eg, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, coeliac disease)8 (16)5 (10)1 (25)2 (20)
Diabetes5 (10)4 (14)01 (10)
Hypothyroidism5 (10)4 (14)1 (25)0
Chronic fatigue syndrome/ ME8 (16)7 (20)01 (10)
Anxiety4 (8)4 (14)00
Asthma2 (4)2 (7)00
Depression*2 (4)2 (7)00
Diverticular disease2 (4)1 (3)01 (10)
Hypertension2 (4)1 (3)01 (10)
Other medical conditions2613 †2‡13§
Somatic symptom burden/anxiety and depression¶
PHQ15 mean (SD)13 (6) (n=44)12 (5) (n=9)17 (6) (n=4)8 (6) (n=8)
HADS-A (anxiety) mean (SD)8 (1)8 (4)6 (3)9 (4)
HADS-D (depression) mean (SD)7 (1)8 (4)6 (4)6 (3)
Social and occupational function
In employment or education21 (48%)14 (40%)3 (75%)4 (40%)
WSAS median (range)15 (4–17)17 (2–38)16 (2–30)4 (0–30)
  • *Self-reported diagnosis–not from HADS score.

  • †Arthritis, cluster headaches, hiatus hernia, oral cancer (asymptomatic), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), postconcussion syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, Raynaud’s syndrome, syncope, somatoform disorder, tetany, trigeminal neuropathy, vitamin D deficiency.

  • ‡Parkinson’s disease, ulcerative colitis.

  • §Ankylosing spondylitis, atrial fibrillation, cyclothymia, diabetes, dysautonomia/orthostatic hypotension syndrome, factor V Leiden, kidney cancer, Marfan syndrome, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, multiple sclerosis, patent foramen ovale, skin cancer, sleep apnoea

  • ¶PHQ15 measures somatic symptom severity: minimal 0–4, low 5–9, medium 10–14, high 15–30; HADS-A and HADS-D scores of less than 7 indicate non-cases, 8–10 mild, 11–14 moderate and 15–21 severe.

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, ME.