Fighting the Blues: Chronic Migraines and Depression

migraineAs doctors and researchers dig further into the effects of chronic migraines on sufferers, it is hard to ignore the apparent correlation between migraines and depression. Research has shown that chronic migraine sufferers, most especially women, have higher rates of depression than their migraine-free counterparts. Recent studies found that over half of individuals suffering from migraines develop depression. Research has also shown that women are nearly 50% more likely to develop depression, if they suffer from chronic migraines.

Causes of Depression

Migraine sufferers can develop depression over time because migraines come with debilitating pain that affects the entire body. This makes it almost impossible for chronic migraine sufferers to resume their normal lifestyles. Moreover, the need for isolated recovery often drives a wedge between migraine sufferers and their families. Migraineurs often feel misuderstood by their loved ones and even their communities because of the lack of awareness and recognition of the serious nature of migraines. This leaves migraineurs feeling disconnected, unmoored, and insecure. Misconceptions about migraines further isolates migraine sufferers. They start feeling like outsiders and doubt the ability of others to empathize and understand them. The isolation and physical pain can push migraineurs to the edge as they are engulfed with despair, hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.

Migraines and Antidepressants

Although many antidepressants exist to help patients deal with bouts of depression, the chemical fluctuations and imbalances in the body caused by medications can drive a person further into depression, if not properly monitored. A multitude of medications and dosages for migraines and depression do not always work well together considering medications usually come with side effects that may be harmful.

Support Groups

It is important for migraineurs dealing with the daily fear and difficulties of chronic migraines to know that they are not alone. Being an active member of support groups may prove to be extremely beneficial. These groups are not only a good way to socialize and give migraineurs a much needed sense of belonging, but they are also great resources for important information. Reaching out to these kinds of supportive communities are important because they can help dispel depression. 

How do you cope with the onset of depression during migraine attacks? Are you a part of any migraine support groups? Do you find them comforting and helpful? Share your advice on how to cope with depression to help your fellow migraine sufferers.

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Image Credit: Mary Lock- Goldilock Photography

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