Migraines and Mental Health: The Connection Explained

Some people who have migraines also have mental health problems, such as depression.

Mental health and migraine are related. In a survey, people with migraines reported mental unhappiness at double the rate of those without. Understand that pain in your head can cause you not to feel good, and mental problems can cause you to have pain in your head. So it is essential to take care of both parts of your body if they are bothering you.

Anxiety and Depression

Migraine and depression are more common in people who have migraines. In addition, experts at the American Migraine Foundation say that these people are five times more likely to develop depression than people without migraines.

People who have migraines are more likely to feel nervous or anxious daily. A study in 2017 found that people with migraines were 25 times more likely to have these feelings than people without them.

migraine impact mental health

As the number of days where you have a migraine increases, so does the chance that you will also experience depression and anxiety. This was found by a study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. People who had chronic migraines were twice as likely to have these problems than people who had migraines less often.

Other Psychiatric Conditions

Migraines are also common for people who have bipolar disorder. For example, in a meta-analysis study of many studies, about one-third of people with bipolar disorder, half of the people with bipolar disorder II and I experience migraines.

People with PTSD may also be at increased risk of migraines. But it is also possible that those with PTSD may develop persistent post-traumatic headache (PPTH), similar to migraine but clinically distinct. People with PPTH may be at increased risk of mental health problems than people who only have migraines.

Cause or Effect?

People with mental illness can get migraines, but it is unclear if the migraine causes the mental illness. Some studies show people who have depression are more likely to get chronic migraines than episodic ones, but this does not mean that treating a person’s migraine will help their depression. It might be that both things make each other happen.

Studies have shown that migraine and mental health problems are connected in families. For example, one study found that people who have siblings with migraines were 40% more likely to develop depression than those without affected siblings, even if they did not have a migraine themselves. Similarly, those with siblings with depression were 45% more likely to develop a migraine. These results suggest that both migraines and depression may be caused by an underlying genetic cause, environmental trigger, or both.

Many things affect a person’s mood and mental health. For example, many things make people feel anxious. Scientists have found that people with anxiety have a problem with serotonin in their brain, which is also related to migraine headaches. People who take drugs for migraines should also talk to their doctor about what else they can do to help themselves feel better emotionally and mentally.

There may be many reasons, but we know that hormones may also play a role. For example, although migraine occurs more in females, migraine with comorbid anxiety is more common in males. In addition, some women report “menstrual migraines” which occur before or during periods when estrogen levels are low. Thus, estrogen deprivation might also play a role in developing migraines and mental health problems too.

Treatment Options

Many medications can help with depression and anxiety. These medications can be called antidepressants. Doctors also think these antidepressants are a good way to treat some types of migraine headaches. But for other types, using an antidepressant and another medication that is made just for headaches might be better.

However, it is essential to talk about medications with your doctor. Studies have shown that in some cases, triptans can’t interact well with other drugs like SSRIs (medication for depression) or SNRIs (similar medicines).

There has been a lot of interest in using biofeedback therapy to help reduce migraines. Biofeedback therapy uses a machine that can measure stress signals, such as muscle tension or body temperature. The goal is for people to learn how to respond quickly so they can relax.

Biofeedback therapy is often used with relaxation training. The therapist teaches you to breathe deeply, learn to relax your muscles, and do some exercises to reduce stress. It can help you have fewer headaches when taken with medication. Biofeedback therapy alone can help you have 45% fewer headaches or 60% fewer headaches if combined with medication.

Biofeedback therapy can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. It also helps improve symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many things people can do to avoid or prevent migraines. These include eating a healthy diet and avoiding stress triggers. But if you have depression, anxiety, or both, these changes should not be complex for your mental health. However, if you have migraine and depression, anxiety, or both, then you will need to be careful with what changes you make. For example, if someone has migraine and depression and start an exercise routine, but it is too much stress for them, they might need to stop exercising until their situation improves.

Migraine can be challenging to deal with. It can be hard to do things that you usually like or need to do. However, you should still try your best to keep up with friends and family as much as possible. This will help you stay happy or not get depressed or anxious even more. In addition, experts recommend doing behavioral therapy that involves doing activities that are enjoyable or rewarding.

About Jessica J

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jessica J. Follow me on Pinterest & LinkedIn.

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