Chronic Migraine’s Enormous Impact on Marriage & Parenting

Anyone who has experienced chronic migraine knows it can place tremendous stress on family relationships. A study from 2014 demonstrated just how enormous the impact is. The findings speak loud and clear:

  • 73% of respondents believed they would be a better spouse if they didn’t have chronic migraine
  • 64% felt their migraines made their partner’s life difficult
  • 64% experienced guilt about being easily angered or annoyed by their partners due to migraine
  • 67% avoided sexual intimacy with their partners at times due to migraine
  • 59% thought they would be better parents if they did not have chronic migraine
  • 61% of participants said they became easily annoyed with their children due to migraine
  • 54% reported that they had reduced participation or enjoyment on a family vacation due to migraine in the previous year
  • 20% cancelled or missed a family vacation altogether in the previous year

The study was conducted online and included 994 chronic migraineurs; 812 were female and 182 were male. Every participant met the diagnostic criteria for chronic migraine – 15 or more headache days a month, at least eight of which are migraine. Findings will be presented at the American Headache Society’s 56th Annual Scientific Meeting this week.

When asked if she was surprised by the study’s findings, the study’s lead author, Dawn Buse, Ph.D., said “The results are heartbreaking, but not surprising. I hear how difficult CM is on family life from my patients on a daily basis. I think the results may surprise some people who hold the view that migraine is ‘just a headache’ and hopefully they shed light on the far reaching effects of this debilitating condition.”

Few people who don’t experience chronic migraine understand how debilitating and life-altering it can be. Even fewer understand how much it impacts the lives of our families. Dr. Buse and her research team hope the study’s findings will raise awareness, not just among family members, friends and coworkers, but society at large, health care providers, insurance companies and the government agencies that control research funding.1,2

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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