Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people who suffer from migraines to also experience mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Those with migraines often feel a loss of productivity and diminished quality of life. This can lead to depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Chronic migraines are defined as having a migraine headache more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months. It would be no surprise to see a link between depression and chronic pain, however there is something about chronic migraines that increases that chance. Studies have shown that people suffering chronic pain from other conditions do not experience depression as frequently. Therefore, there is something about chronic migraines other than the pain itself.
Although doctors have been unable to determine the exact relationship between chronic migraine and depression, there are a few theories. Doctors cannot say with certainty whether chronic migraines cause depression or if depression is causing chronic migraines. It is also possible for a shared environmental factor is the culprit. The disability and decrease quality of life felt by people suffering from migraines is only worsening with the onset of depression. Also, people have reported an increase in their migraine symptoms right after a bout with depression.
Doctors are advised to screen for depression due to the increased risk.
Some medication that was originally designed to treat aliments other than migraines has shown positive results in treating migraines as well. Antidepressant medication is one of them and can sometimes be used to treat the migraine and the depression simultaneously. However, it is imperative that you do not mix selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRI) with triptan drugs, therefore avoiding serotonin syndrome, a rare but potentially life threatening side effect. This occurs when too much serotonin enters the brain.
Triptan are a class of drugs used for the treatment and prevention of migraines. They cause relief from a migraine by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, reducing the inflammation of blood vessels. There are many different brands of triptan medications available by prescription. They include oral medication, nasal spray, injections and skin patches.
Triptans do not prevent a patient from experiencing a migraine; it simply treats the migraine as it occurs. In order to prevent migraines, there are other medication options that have been successful. These medications include beta blockers and some antidepressants. Identifying and avoid migraine triggers is another proven method for preventing future migraines.
Common triggers include certain foods, stress, physical exertion and dehydration.
With the debilitating pain that accompanies a migraine, it is no surprise that it can lead patients to experience a decrease in their quality of life. When you suffer from depression on top of migraines, the results can be devastating. In order to avoid these conditions taking over your life, it is important to treat both diseases in order to successfully regain the quality of life you want.