For someone with migraine, daily life can be tricky to navigate. Between not knowing when the next attack will occur and managing migraine pain, you face many stressors that detract from your everyday life. Unfortunately, people with migraines often have depression and anxiety, too. Those who endure migraines are nearly five times as likely to develop depression or anxiety.
Managing migraine, anxiety and depression can be overwhelming. The unpredictability of migraine can cause a cycle of anxiety to develop, and the toll that migraine episodes take on your body can leave you feeling exhausted or hopeless. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone in your struggles. There are many strategies you can use to ease these burdens.
Here are methods for navigating migraines and depression or anxiety.
The Link Between Migraines, Anxiety and Depression
Can depression cause migraines? Does anxiety lead to migraines? These questions are common among individuals with migraine. Currently, doctors and researchers are still studying the links between anxiety and depression and migraines.
It’s tricky to come to an exact conclusion because the onset of each varies by person. For instance, here are two ways that people’s experiences might differ:
- Depression or anxiety develop after migraines: In these cases, you might start feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety after months or years of living with migraine. The constant stress of developing a migraine might cause you to feel on edge consistently, which could eventually manifest into an anxiety disorder. Living with migraines can also cause feelings of frustration or hopelessness. In turn, you might feel depressed or develop depression.
- Migraines occur after depression or anxiety: In these instances, patients already have either anxiety or depression before the onset of their migraines. This pattern shows that the conditions don’t always develop due to migraines. Instead, people might already have anxiety or depression, and migraines occur later.
One theory behind why someone might have migraines and anxiety or depression is a possible genetic predisposition. It’s been proven that migraines run in families, with almost 60% of people getting migraines due to their genes. Further, if a patient’s family member has depression, they’re nearly two times more likely to develop it. So, it’s possible that your brain is predisposed to migraines if a relative already has them.
Migraines, depression and anxiety use the same neurotransmitters and systems in the brain. These similarities suggest a possible link between brain activity for each condition. However, there’s no concrete explanation of the link because everyone’s genetics and migraine experiences differ.
Signs of Depression and Anxiety
It’s essential to understand the symptoms of depression and anxiety when living with migraines. Sometimes, you become so overwhelmed with migraine pain that you don’t recognize the signs. If you notice any of these symptoms, remember you’re not alone, and help is available for you.
Signs of Depression
These are frequent symptoms of depression:
- Loss of interest in regular activities
- Gaining or losing weight
- Compulsive behavior
- Stomach pains
Signs of Anxiety
A few signs of anxiety include:
- Panic attacks
- Feeling of losing control
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Prevention and Treatment Options
If you notice you display symptoms of depression or anxiety due to or alongside your migraines, it’s best to seek treatment. Dealing with anxiety or depression at the same time as migraine can feel exhausting. By addressing your mental health, you’ll likely have more energy and feel better about life in general. In turn, you could find your migraines easier to bear or navigate.
Luckily, you can treat migraines and anxiety or depression in many ways. Here are some ways to better manage your depression, anxiety and migraines.
Tips for Prevention
Sometimes, a few lifestyle changes can decrease symptoms of depression or anxiety. These management tips might also reduce the frequency of migraine.
These are a few examples:
- Stress management: Overwhelming feelings of stress take a significant toll on your body, like triggering a migraine. Stress can also cause anxiety or depression. Because of the way stress impacts our bodies, it’s crucial to find ways to manage it. Make sure to find time every day to do something you love, whether it’s watching your favorite show, reading or cooking. Take breaks during work or other stressful activities and reduce time spent reading negative news. Instead, try spending more time with pets, friends and family.
- Getting enough sleep: Your body needs a proper amount of sleep to maintain both physical and mental health. However, those with depression or anxiety may encounter sleep difficulties such as insomnia. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night for their bodies to function at their best. Try reducing your screen time before bed and creating a relaxing nighttime routine to get better sleep.
- Exercise: Exercise also helps with migraine and mental illness. With more movement, your brain releases more endorphins, which reduces feelings of stress. You’re also likely to get better rest at night, which is another way to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
You can also seek various forms of treatment for your migraines, anxiety and depression. Professionals can help guide you through symptoms and relieve pain.
Here are some options to try:
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been proven to provide some relief from migraines. This treatment involves piercing the body with a needle to relieve pain and pressure. Many people try sessions over five to eight weeks for migraine treatment. There’s also some evidence that it relieves depressive and anxious symptoms.
- Therapy: Many with anxiety and depression use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help with symptoms. Therapy allows you to talk through your feelings, while therapists offer advice on changing thought patterns and habits. CBT might also help with working through feelings of frustration due to migraine.
- Medicine for pain relief: Various medications are available for migraine, anxiety and depression. Many doctors prescribe triptans for migraine relief. You can also take preventative supplements, like riboflavin, that might reduce migraine frequency. People also take antidepressants for anxiety and depression to help relieve symptoms.
- CEFALY: CEFALY is another type of migraine treatment, used for both acute and preventative remedies. To use CEFALY, you simply attach the device to your forehead for relief. It stimulates the trigeminal nerve — the nerve that centers migraine attacks and sends pain signals to other areas of the body. CEFALY can decrease the intensity and frequency of your migraines, making them easier to manage.
Try CEFALY DUAL Migraine Treatment and Preventative Kit Today
CEFALY DUAL Enhanced is an FDA-cleared treatment for migraines. It’s comfortable and drug-free, designed for a comforting treatment experience. Use it as a daily prevention treatment or at the onset of a migraine attack to reduce pain. CEFALY helps you navigate life with migraine as easily as possible.