Migraines are linked to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Research has shown that individuals with migraine problems are about five times more likely to develop depression as compared to those without migraines. When you are living with a chronic condition like migraine which affects many aspects of your life, it is logical to feel sad, frustrated, or distressed. However, if you do not take action, migraine can take an even greater toll on your mental health, which can have detrimental consequences.
The Link Between Migraines and Mental Health
Do migraines cause anxiety or depression and vice versa? Doctors are still trying to figure out the connection. Many people experience depression or anxiety months or years after the onset of migraines, owing in part to its debilitating nature. However, some develop migraine following a period of depression or anxiety. This indicates that depression and anxiety are not a result of migraines. These conditions, like migraines, can be hereditary. It is believed that there are underlying explanations, like genetic reasons or the fact that both mental illness and migraines affect similar biochemicals in the body and brain, predisposing someone to have one, and then the other.
Common anxiety symptoms like fear, excessive worry, and irritability, can exacerbate migraine symptoms. You may be concerned about when the next attack will occur, feel helpless about the unpredictability of your symptom, and feel frustrated by the numerous ways in which migraine affects your life. When a person is unsure when the next migraine attack will occur, it can produce a significant degree of migraine anxiety and, eventually, depression. Depression symptoms include weariness, loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and feelings of melancholy and hopelessness, all of which closely resemble migraine symptoms.
On the bright side, depression and anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways, including using medications that target nerve transmitters. There are also nonpharmacological therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments help with stress management, allowing you to alter the way you think and act, which could be contributing to our feelings of sadness and anxiety. Relaxation therapies are also effective in treating anxiety and depression, as well as reducing stress, which can worsen migraine symptoms. These strategies involve meditative exercises like guided visual imagery or deep breathing to relax and soothe the nervous system. Another option is biofeedback, in which patients are connected to a machine measuring their different physiological responses that compares them with biological information. This is beneficial for anxiety, particularly generalized anxiety and panic attacks, as well as insomnia. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and keeping active and healthy is also important for people who deal with both migraines and depression or anxiety.
Combat Migraines with Head Pain Institute
If you are seeking long-term relief from migraines or headaches, our team of specialists at Head Pain Institute is your best bet. We are committed to using the safest and most effective evidence-based treatment methods for you. We are the leading providers for the treatment of TMD or TMJ disorders, neck, head, and ear pain, and sleep apnea in the United States. Reach out to us if you have any questions about our treatment options or would like to schedule an appointment.