Depression and Migraine

Both depression and suicidal thoughts are much higher among individuals with migraine, a new study found, and the prevalence of depression among those with migraines is approximately twice as high as for those without the disease.

More than 8% of men with migraines suffer from depression, compared to just over 3% of men without migraines, more than 12% of female migraine-sufferers experience depression, compared to less than 6% of women who do not have migraines.

In a paper published online in the journal, Depression Research and Treatment, investigators also reported that younger migraine sufferers were particularly a risk for depression.

The study investigated the relationship between migraine and suicidal thoughts. For both men and women, those with migraines were much more likely to have “ever seriously considered suicide or taking their own life”  People under the age of 30 had four times the odds of lifetime suicidal thoughts in comparison to people who suffered migraines aged 65 and older. Other factors associated with suicidal thoughts included unmarried status, lower household income and greater activity limitations.

“We are not sure why younger migraineurs have such a high likely hood of depression and suicidal thoughts,” said the co-author and former graduate student Meghan Schrumm. “It may be that younger people with migraines have not yet managed adequate treatment or coping mechanisms.”

2 thoughts on “Depression and Migraine

  1. I can honestly say it took me awhile to cope with my migraines. I still wish death on myself when I get a migraine and the fact that there are not enough doctors who are educated enough in migraine care to deal with the amount of migraine patients. Too many migraine suffers are told to deal with it or passed off without trying to figure out how to “fix” the problem.

    • It took years for me to find a migraine specialist that really helped. There are two parts to the strategy that I’m aware of. First, prevention (involving dietary and behavioral changes that affect migraines, and medicines and supplements that help increase the time gap between migraines); second, management (reducing the pain, usually with a triptan medication, but there are also others).
      It’s no shock at all to hear that migraine sufferers are more prone to being depressed. The periods of unbearable pain are enough to trigger depression in just about anyone.

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