The burning mouth syndrome (BMS), i.e. a burning sensation in the oral mucose in the absence of clinically observable changes of the oral mucose, is a disease of uncertain etiology. It is suggested that BMS is concurrent with anxiety and depressive disorders that may be due to the chronically experienced pain, or that the condition is a somatic form of anxiety or depression.
Aims: Firstly, to assess the type and frequency of coexisting mental disorders in patients diagnosed with the BMS. Secondly, an attempt was made to determine a) temporal relation between the presence of painful BMS symptoms and the onset of mental disorders, and b) differences in the nature and course of the condition between BMS patients with and without mental disorders.
Subjects and method: Participants in the study were 74 patients diagnosed with BMS. They were submitted to a psychiatric examination, with particular attention paid to the assessment of anxiety and depression levels, as well as to pain severity. In subsequent analyses the group of BMS patients with mental disorders was compared to that without such disorders.
Results and discussion: Coexisting mental disorders (in the form of anxiety or depression) were noted in over a half of the BMS patients. No temporal connection was found between painful BMS symptoms and the onset of mental disorders. As regards demographic characteristics, BMS patients with mental disorders did not differ from those without mental disorders.