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Research Connects Migraines And Anxiety

January 21, 2009

People who suffer from migraine headaches are at increased risk of also suffering form mood and anxiety disorders, according to research.

“An expanding body of literature has shown that migraine headaches are associated with higher rates of mental disorders,” Dr. Jitender Sareen, of the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues point out in a published report. Despite all this, previous studies have been subject to a number of limitations.

Sareen and colleagues analyzed data from the German Health Survey to better clarify this relationship.  They conducted data between 1997 and 1999.  Migraines were diagnosed by a doctor and trained interviewers evaluated participants for mental disorders.

There was a significant association between having migraine headaches in the past 12 months and suffering from various mood and anxiety disorders, according to the team.  Among 7,124 adults, 11.7 percent reported a history of migraine headache.

“Although the cross-sectional nature of this study cannot determine causality, there are several possible explanations of the relationship between migraine and mental disorders,” Sareen’s team notes.

They suggest, that it may be that a common environmental or genetic factor influences both migraines and mood/anxiety disorders.  A casual relationship between mental disorders and migraines may also exist.  According to the team, this study and others found that anxiety often precedes migraine, which could later lead to depression.

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