Does our mood somehow spur migraines? Unfortunately, yes, many people who experience depression or anxiety suffer from regular migraines. Worse then getting a migraine is having a migraine relapse — the unwelcome return of migraine symptoms within a single day. Could mood disorders increase the likelihood of a migraine relapse? Although the researchers speculated that depression and anxiety were associated with a higher rate of migraine relapse, their findings showed otherwise.
The researchers found no association between migraine recurrence rates and subjects’ depression and anxiety symptoms. In comparing recurrence rates with a quality of life survey completed by all study subjects, the researchers again found no correlation between migraine recurrence and subjects’ responses. Furthermore, participants’ overall well-being didn’t influence relapse rates. “Apparently, depressive or anxiety symptoms do not influence headache recurrence in acute pharmaceutical migraine treatment, but further investigation is required,” the study authors concluded.
For migraine sufferers, the passing of a headache doesn’t always signify the end of a migraine attack. Although the pain might have subsided, the risk remains for a quick return of symptoms. Just when a person finally experiences some relief, another wave of pain can surface. It’s a pattern that leaves many migraine sufferers frustrated with their medication’s effectiveness and unhappy with their overall treatment. For this reason, experts have long sought out the causes behind migraine recurrence. By identifying factors that contribute to headache relapse, they hope to tailor more effective treatments that curb migraine recurrence altogether.
The random, double-blind study involved giving migraine sufferers either 50 mg of sumatriptan, a common migraine medication known under the brand name Imitrex, or a placebo for three migraine attacks in a row and then switching the sumatriptan group over to the placebo for the next consecutive three migraine attacks. The primary thing the researchers were looking for was how the recurrence related to the patient’s mood and their overall general health.
Other research has shown the migraine and depression/anxiety connection appears to be “bidirectional.” In other words, a history of migraines increases the risk for depression and anxiety. Likewise, depression and anxiety appear to raise a person’s risk for migraine experiences. Experts say it’s crucial for patients who experience both migraines and depression/anxiety to receive ongoing medical treatment for both conditions.