Migraine could be the cause of Depression

Migraine headacheResearchers have found that migraine may increase the risk of depression.

This research has been done by the researchers from University of Calgary and published online in the November 15 issue of the journal Headache. Lead author of this research is Geeta Modgill.

According to researchers, there are not only increased chances of developing clinical depression because of migraine but there are also increased chances that people with more clinical depression develop migraine.

Migraine is an extremely bad form of headache in which recurrent and throbbing sensations occurred on one side of head. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. Depression is a psychiatric disorder in which there are persistent feelings of hopelessness, dejection, lack of energy, poor concentration, inability to sleep and sometimes person start thinking of suicide.

Researchers took data from Canadian National Population Health Survey having profiles of 15,000 people and followed up with them every two years between 1994 and 2007. They found about 15% of the people experienced depression and about 12% of people experienced migraines all through the 12 years of research.

Researchers reported,

After adjusting for sex, age, and other chronic health conditions, respondents with migraine were 60% more likely … to develop MDE (major depressive episodes) compared with those without migraine. Similarly adjusting for sex and age, respondents with MDE were 40% more likely … to develop migraine compared with those without MDE. However, the latter association disappeared after adjustment for stress and childhood trauma.

They concluded,

The current study provides substantial evidence that migraine is associated with the later development of MDEs, but does not provide strong causal evidence of an association in the other direction. Environmental factors such as childhood trauma and stress may shape the expression of this bidirectional relationship; however, the precise underlying mechanisms are not yet known.


Geeta Modgill MSc, Nathalie Jette MD, MSc, Jian Li Wang PhD, Werner J. Becker MD, Scott B. Patten MD, PhD, (2011). A Population-Based Longitudinal Community Study of Major Depression and Migraine. Headache, DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2011.02036.x


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