If you suffer from migraines, the pain makes a major impact on your life. But for many migraine sufferers, the pain is only part of the problem. Migraines can also lead to serious emotional problems that are just as disabling, if not more so.
Depression and Migraines
Depression is a disorder in which a person feels a chronic low mood. It includes a lack of motivation and a lack of joy in things that a person had previously found pleasurable. Depression can stem from chemical imbalances, but it can also be caused or worsened by negative events or circumstances in life, such as migraines.
People with migraines are 2 to 4 times as likely to have depression. Migraines can contribute to depression for many reasons. The pain itself can make you depressed, or maybe it’s what the pain has done to your life. You might feel like you’re not being a good parent, spouse, or friend. You might feel that you can’t accomplish anything because of your intermittent migraines.
Anxiety and Migraines
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry that can become disabling. This worry is typically portrayed as being about nothing, or as being blown out of proportion with the cause, but for anxiety sufferers, it’s often hard to see this.
And for many migraine sufferers, there are plenty of good causes for anxiety. Many sufferers develop anxiety about their next attack. They worry about when it will happen, how severe it will be, and whether it will interfere with their professional or personal plans. Migraine sufferers worry about whether they will lose their job, whether their spouse or lover will leave them, and what impact their migraines are having on their children. Overall, migraine sufferers are about 3-5 times as likely to develop anxiety disorders as the general population.
Will Migraine Treatment Improve Your Emotional State?
For many people, migraine treatment will improve their emotional state. If you are depressed or anxious because of your migraines, you will feel better when your migraines become less frequent and less intense.
But for other people, the emotional disorders are actually not directly caused by migraines or even strongly influenced by them. Instead, they may be genetically linked and share risk factors, but they’re a separate disorder. Bipolar disorder is another emotional disorder that is common in people with migraines, but it’s not caused by the migraines themselves.
You should talk to your doctor about emotional problems, but also pursue treatment for your migraines to see if it can help–it certainly won’t hurt!