Migraine and Suicidal Thoughts: One Migraineur’s Story

The risk of suicide among people with severe migraine pain has been in the news lately thanks to an article in the journal Headache that concludes, “The results suggest the possibility that pain severity might account in part for the increased risk of suicide attempt associated with migraine.”

Most of the articles are a dry recounting of this conclusion. I haven’t seen a migraineur acknowledge that they have have considered or attempted suicide because of the severity of their migraine pain. This is a scary thing to admit to oneself, let alone publish on the internet. I know because my hands are shaking and my heart is racing as I type these words.

I have considered suicide many times as the “solution” to the chronic, debilitating migraine attacks I live with every day. I have never attempted it, but I have told a psychiatrist that I wanted to be admitted for suicide watch (she thought I was being melodramatic) and, when we were living far away from family and friends, my husband used frequent flyer miles to have people come stay with us because he was afraid I’d kill myself when he was at work. This was a couple years ago, but as recently as January I have wondered how much longer I could live such a diminished life.

Optimistic, stubborn and empathic are the three adjectives that best describe me. One wouldn’t expect someone with these qualities to consider suicide. I absolutely wanted to be alive, but couldn’t bear the thought of continuing to live with such pain. Intellectually I knew there were more possible treatments and that the pain woudn’t always persist. Still, I’d been fighting for so many years only to continue to find myself in horrendous pain, nauseated, dizzy, unable to get out of bed. There was no quality to my life. Suicide felt like my only way out of a life of misery.

I would like to tell you I had some emotional epiphany; that I’d found a mental salve I could apply whenever I had suicidal thoughts. What ended my despair was finally finding a treatment that reduced the frequency, severity and duration of the migraine attacks. Except for a slight reduction in pain from indomethacin, a high dose of magnesium, which I started in early February, was the first effective treatment I’ve tried in the 10 years since a doctor first agreed to treat my migraines. This, and hearing from a friend whose chronic daily migraine attacks disappeared when she hit menopause, have given me the strength and hope to keep fighting.

If you are considering suicide, please don’t keep it to yourself. As difficult as it is to admit to suicidal thoughts, you cannot carry all this pain alone. Whether you talk to a loved one or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, speak up. As physically and mentally excruciating as life with migraine can be, it is still a precious life worth living.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
Breslau et al. Migraine Headaches and Suicide Attempt. Headache, March 9. Available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02117.x/abstract. Accessed May 2012.

Comments

View Comments (54)
  • barb
    5 years ago

    It’s true. I love my life and my family but pain is pain and as shitty as it gets. I hope I would never go through with it but if I’m having a hard week, or two, it’s something that I briefly consider.

    I think if I scared myself enough to think I’d actually act on those thoughts I’d call 911 first.

  • Jen
    6 years ago

    Absolutely. There are so many things I want to do in my life, and have dreamed of doing-I’m 22-my whole life is ahead of me! But this disease is like a filter over every dream I have…it changes everything. I even worry about being able to hold a job and paying back my student loans now that I’ve finished school. Although I’ve never come close, every once in a while the thought does cross my mind-how much longer can I do this?

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Migraine is so exhausting and frustrating, but you’ve found a soft place to land where we all understand.

    When it gets dark, please reach out and talk to someone whether it’s a friend, family member or minister. As Kerrie said, it’s impossible to carry migraine pain alone.

    Nancy

  • Julie
    7 years ago

    I had comtemplated suicided twice in the past 2 1/2 years over the pain, depression, PTSD and over the molestation I suffered at the age of 11 at the hands of a relative that was 16 at the time. I’m now 50. I had repressed those memories until 2 1/2 yrs ago and everything came crashing down around me and everything hit me at once-the pain of the migraines for the past 20+ years became daily intractible and totally unbearable-they still do not respond to treatment and I have yet not gone through menopause. If it had not been for my best friend being my lifeline I would not be breathing today. I willingly checked myself into a depression unit 1 1/2 months ago to get some serious help with the depression and PTSD as well as chronic insomnia-I was into my 5th month of major sleep depravation. I’m still a mess but I’m hoping to get it all worked out eventually. I finally won my SSD appeal earlier this year after being on sick leave since May 2010 then lost my job Dec 2010-I filed for SSD Oct 2010 and of course they denied me April 2011 but I got a good appeal attorney and he won my case for me. But I get so down because I’m not reliable due to the chronic pain that affects me daily. Lights, sound and noise bother me and I’m really bothered by smells. If I’m not in a full blown migraine I try to venture out and sometimes I pay for it in spades. So in reality I don’t have much of a life. But I’m a guinea pig, or lab rat, and the doctor keeps experimenting on me trying new things. Right now I have a combination of daytime and night time pills I take as preventives and I take either Sprix or Migranal nasal spray as my abortive along w/Oxygen as my abortives for the bad ones or Indomethocin for a not so bad one-which those are very rare. So each day is a real struggle. I stay home where it’s quiet and the curtains are drawn to keep it dark unless it’s overcast. I feel like a vampire sometimes. Kind of pathetic in a way. I blog and journal and I have some company come over once in a while.

  • Julie
    7 years ago

    Have I mentioned on my blog I comptemplated suicide? If not then that’s not good. We should be more open about that as bloggers as that is why we are posting in the 1st place. If I neglected to post that then I apologize. I will have to go back in there and fix it. I apologize to you for that Kerrie.
    http://www.julieg350dayinthelifewithmigraines.com

  • mlfaux
    7 years ago

    I unfortunately have attempted suicide, and I will admit it. Some of it was due to depression but the majority was because of the pain. I wanted to get rid of it, or at least at the time give me some relief. Being in pain constantly, which put me on disability so I hate that I can’t contribute to the family. It physically, mentally, & emotionally takes over your life. It’s a daily struggle.

  • Myth1977
    7 years ago

    I don’t have a problem admitting I considered it or the fact I attempted suicide in 2010. I’ve been blunt about it on my blog. I felt the need to explain it was the Pain and not a despression. I needed to make sense of it myself because I had had thoughts and thought it was perfectly sane to have such thoughts when confronted with such lasting and enduring pain… who wouldn’t? But then that moment, such a small moment, that turned thoughts to actions, stunned me because I thought I would never cross that line in reality,even if the thought of no pain was sort of a thought that would comfort me at times. Just a moment where you are locked in a frantic desperation and thoughts become unreasonable and all you think about is past pain,present pain and future pain. That was all it took. Very scary. Because that was one status migraine of which I get every month and have been for over a decade. So now I have to find ways to ensure the next one and the next one and the next one does not lead to the same thing. Pain of that magnitude and pain like ours that just does not end is a heavy burdan to bear it is unreasonable to think it does not have a price and that we would not want it to end… the pain that is. We want to live. And we do many things to help lessen the pain. To treat the pain. To distract ourselves for the pain. To survive the pain. But it is not at every moment sufficient. And at those times the best we can do is decrease the suffering the pain causes and hope that one day it will be less than it is. As I write this I am in a great deal of pain. And you know since 2010 I have not had very much hope of it ever being better, but I have designed reasons to ensure and I am attempting new ways to at least try and decrease my suffering if not the pain. Currently I’m trying to get on long term disability from work because I am incapable of enduring this pain and working… it just is impossible physically, mentally and emoptionally. That though is not something others really comprehend, including doctors. Which is why we end up desperate and frantic…

  • tinamontgomery
    7 years ago

    I can really relate to this article. I have occipital neuralgia and the frequency and severity of my headaches leave me depressed and unable to do anything even on a good day which is what I consider a pain level below 5. My GP put me on Proxac and I have to say the depression and suicidal thoughts have been much relieved. Thanks for sharing your story. My heart and prayers go out to everyone who suffers living with this from day to day.

  • tinamontgomery
    7 years ago

    That should be Prozac.

  • Tara Lane
    7 years ago

    Thanks Kerrie – you are not alone in this. I have thought about suicide many times when the pain becomes too much, and depression sets in, and I can see no way out.
    I joke with friends that I want a head transplant as if we could get new heads like new kidneys or livers. Dark migraine humor, I suppose, but most laugh because they do not know I am serious, really serious about this. I have heard magnesium does wonderful things for some, and am looking into it for myself. Thanks for speaking up.

  • Newdancerco
    5 years ago

    I ask friends and doctors for a headectomy! It makes the point about how severe the pain is, and if the doc gets the humor, they are likely to be a keeper–not so serious that they can’t catch a joke!

  • Joyce Ann Russian Davis
    7 years ago

    I can fuley understand were people are comming from. I have had migraines sceams like all my life. The only reason I went to the Dr was my dad told me I could be haveing a stroke. they say keep a juneral. to figger out the triggers. I my self never know most of the time that their comming on just Bamm>. I know one of my triggers is stress. The more stress the more offten I’m at the Dr. And then it is a lets try this and that And more money I have to come up with. But hey no stress their.

  • Carly Schaps
    7 years ago

    I haven’t considered suicide but I have wished for death. When I’m puking my guts out and lying in the dark on the cold bathroom floor waiting for my triptans to kick in, I often wonder what’s the point.

  • Adee Brownlee
    7 years ago

    Thank you for posting this. I agree with Paula – ” And I, like Kerrie, am tough, obstinate and strong-willed. Maybe most of us are – we HAVE to be. Still, suicide is probably sitting there in the corners of our minds. Especially when the hours turn to days, and days to years.”
    The pain, isolation, loneliness and hopelessness of chronic migraine make it harder to chose to carry on than to give up – We are tough, strong people just to get through each day. I often wonder if the sham of a life we are left with is really worth the fight but my son and husband certainly are worth it so I take each second, minute, hour as it happens. I don’t feel guilty anymore about what I can’t/ don’t do in life. “The rate of suicide in Migraineurs was found to be increased without any correlation to clinical depression”. I agree with this statement too. I am not often depressed – its just the unbearable pain that wears me down but I am a happy person when not suffering. Funny that, eh?

  • Paula Joanne Albers
    7 years ago

    To Kerrie and “all of us”:

    We are NOT alone; please don’t forget that. Teri Robert is so right: the stigma and myths surrounding migraine are so thick, so heavy and so “old” and longstanding that many of us never admit to being this sick and so in pain, let alone considering suicide.

    I bet “this subject” has crossed many of our minds at one time or another. I know it has mine. And I, like Kerrie, am tough, obstinate and strong-willed. Maybe most of us are – we HAVE to be. Still, suicide is probably sitting there in the corners of our minds. Especially when the hours turn to days, and days to years.

    Kerrie, God Bless you for bridging this subject; for bringing it out into the light where it needs to be. You are BRAVE, your words are so necessary, and you remind us that we all matter – that all our lives really are worthwhile and precious…

    Someday, “stigma” will be a thing of the past… so will “migraine”.

  • Katie Burke
    7 years ago

    Kerrie,

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more, you have made it possible with this courageous share. I never knew about this, but I assumed, given your past writings about depression. And I remember that time two years ago; I had no idea that this is what was going on.

    I know there’s no guarantee that you’ve seen the last of these thoughts. I am just grateful you’ve made it through the ones that have come and gone. My personal, makeshift suicide hotline is always available to you.

    Love,
    Katie

  • Chip Dooley
    7 years ago

    I know how you feel I have never told anyone that I wanted to kill myself because my head and other problems but mostly migraises. From your head being in such pain, nausea and auras plus other stuff. last 10 days I’ve had a 1-4 days migraine to just a few hours and I suffer from2 different kinds and only felt good on 3 days. I don’t want to and I can not because of my 3 beautiful kids. I have been on so many different cocktails it ridicules. I found one that works but my new doctors will not give them to me, so they put me on roxicodon, morphine, valium and something else. They don’t work besides the roxicodon and they given me 60 less a month so the only time I take my meds is when I have my kids(50% of the time). Dr.s only prescribe meds that they get kick backs from. It’s their way or the highway and their always fight even when I prove them wrong. There was a federal law pasted in 2000 or 2002 that Dr.s have to treat their pataiant with what works for them not what they want to give you. If anyone knows what I’m talking about with SS can you please let me know. Thanks. Please make cc bar marked for migraines. thanks again chip.

  • Chip Dooley
    7 years ago

    Mark Farmer Thank you Mark, telling a stranger doesn’t bother me. But family and friends know i suffer from migraines but the other stuff i just keep to myself just because. thanks again

  • Mark Farmer
    7 years ago

    No embarassment, dude: I’ve had headaches and frankly felt like death would have felt better (but known in my mind that …..eventually…. the headache would go awayP). Just wanted to be sure and express my support and admiration of you.

  • Chip Dooley
    7 years ago

    Migraines.com thank you

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Chip – To ensure your comments don’t show up on your Facebook wall, make sure you uncheck the “Post to Facebook” box before posting

  • Chip Dooley
    7 years ago

    I’m so embarrassed , I thought i was posting to her article I didn’t know fb would have it all over. No I would never kill myself ( feel like it because my head and body hurts extremely bad)speical now I love my kids to much a long with life, pain I can deal with a little less would be nice. Mark Farmer The company finally had it on their web site and who to contact (if I read it right) it just settled in the last few monthes and was put on their site in the not to long ago. So I might have a shot. Kanan Kerrina I was hurt in La. and I was seeing the best doctors and a lot of them in all areas. From San Diego to Hyment to and all over La county and Orange county. The chemicals I worked with did permanent damage. Thanks for your concern but I have to much to live for Thank You.

  • Kanan Kerrina
    7 years ago

    Migraines are brutal. I have had them for years. I wish I could say that I didn’t understand your feelings. Perhaps you need to shop around for a more like mined MD. They can be a bit headstrong when you have a differing opinion. Find one that has less ego, that can be open to discussing your options with your own suggestions taken into account. I’m in LA, and know several great MD’s here. I’ll ask around to see who might be perhaps more compatible with you.

  • Mark Farmer
    7 years ago

    Chip, am so sorry to hear about all the recent migraines. I don’t have any info about the law you mention, but wanted to reach out and let you know I care. Along with trying to heal and figure out how to best treat the migraines, I hope you have a counselor or therapist to talk with. Things can get better (even though I know how horrible things can feel and how it sometimes feels like it will never get better). Suicide is a permanent solution to *temporary* problems. I want you around for when you’ve finally conqcuored the headaches and for your chidlren’s important moments.

  • Rob Kay
    7 years ago

    Imagine being a 16 year old male and telling yourself “I’ll kill myself before going through another one of those things”. An eye doctor that simply states “oh, that just sounds like a vascular headache” and Mother that just says “big deal”.

    Just another “issue” that needs attention as well, in my opinion from a male perspective.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Rob, that’s great to hear!

  • Rob Kay
    7 years ago

    But I do think the eye doctors are making progress with awareness, Teri. On a recent eye exam there were some new questions on my patient profile that they wanted me to update. (Do you ever have blind spots or see flashing lights?, etc). I answered honestly of course but told the doctor I know what causes this. Another reason for those “auras” is a detached retina. They really, put me through a thorough exam looking for a detached retina for liability purposes I’m sure. One of the doctors was obviously an intern working along side the experienced one and he was the one doing the thorough questioning and referred me to another doctor because “you shouldn’t have to go through that upwards of 3 times a day”. At least they care now and probably through efforts of awareness.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Rob, you’re welcome. I hear you. I ran into the same thing in the lat 90’s. Thank heaven for the Internet. I had assumed that all neurologists were Migraine specialists, but the Internet allowed me to talk with other Migraineurs, and that’s how I learned that wasn’t correct and found that there are doctors who truly specialize in and treat nothing but Migraine and other headache disorders. Took the plunge, and my husband drove me eight hours to Philadelphia to see a specialist. Otherwise, I’d probably still be in bed most of the time. It’s slow going, but I really do think things are getting better.

  • Rob Kay
    7 years ago

    Thanks for your efforts, Teri. In my neck of the woods back in oh, say, 1983 “professionals” knew nothing about nothing regarding Migraines w/aura. Mommy had the best Federal government health nsurance available too.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    You’re right, Rob. The problem is how to address it. We know now that Migraines aren’t vascular headaches, for one thing. “Eye doctors” are great – for eye related issues, but they’re eye specialists, and for anything else, I’d certainly go to my family doctor or a different kind of specialist.

    Then there’s the issue of the public, such as “Mother” not understanding. That’s one reason June is National Migraine Awareness Month. We’re doing our best to try to enlighten everyone we can.

  • Stephanie DeBarber
    7 years ago

    this is where I differ I guess. When I have the severe pain, I can barely remember where I am, let alone actually think about the pain. I have difficulty remembering things and balancing. My IPad had beeping that goes off so I can remember to look at the calender on certain days incase of an attack. So needless to say, I do not even think the thought of that is in my head, as I am much too buisy trying to recall what I am doing or the steps to what I have to do. I feel bad for those who are able to process that though, and I can understand it. I get psycosis sometimes from the pain… I have 3 kids and was convinced I had 4. I couldn’t remember the 4ths name, but I just knew when he walked into the room I would know it. 5 minutes later he never came in, and it clicked that there WAS NO 4th kid… scary…

  • Stephanie DeBarber
    7 years ago

    and the time it took me 5
    minutes while cutting chicken to recall if I was left or right handed…

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Kerrie Smyres, thanks for posting so openly and honestly on such a difficult topic. The stigma attached to both Migraines and suicide make it doubly hard for people to even admit to these feelings, let alone discuss them, when discussing them is probably the best thing for those of us who feel this way or have felt this way. Again, thank you!

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Lori, Migraines can make us feel so isolated! I’m glad this helped you realize you’re not alone because that’s one of the worst feelings in the world.

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    You’re welcome Kerrie. I can see why it would take so long to write, and yes, Kelly’s piece was extremely inspiring.

  • Lori Rayburn Lilley
    7 years ago

    reading tihs makes me realize i’m not alone. if i didn’t have family that needs me, i’d have solved the pain a long time ago. if they haven’t been there people really just can’t understand.

  • Kerrie Smyres
    7 years ago

    Thank you, Teri. It took me months to have the courage to write it. I was inspired by the brave post that Kelly from Fly With Hope wrote last year (http://www.flywithhope.com/2011/07/migraine-and-suicide.html).

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    I tend to think of suicidal thoughts/ideation to be different from the thoughts most Migraineurs find themselves faced with because of their pain. The rate of suicide in Migraineurs was found to be increased without any correlation to clinical depression. Most Migraineurs don’t want to die. They don’t want to end it all. They don’t have a taste for oblivion. In fact most I’ve talked to about the subject really want their lives back and are struggling desperately hard to do what they can with what they have left. The problem is that they find they just can’t live with the physical pain which they find to be ongoing physical torture. If their health care team, support system or treatments are leaving them feeling that this is their only way to escape the torture of their pain, then there is a very real danger of completing the act. Our community at large has seen it happen too many times. I have long considered this to be a problem of under-treatment of Migraine and chronic pain issues and have written about it in the past. This is one of the ways Migraine can kill the patient, but not one that is often recognized. Death certificates don’t read Cause of Death: Migraine. They say overdose, accident, liver failure, etc. Cluster headaches are called “suicide headaches” for a reason. It is the pain that drives the patient. Trigeminal Neuralgia is called the “suicide disease” because it is the pain that drives the patient. When the pain is gone, the patients typically go on to live normal, productive, and yes even happy lives.

    If you (or someone you know) are thinking you have no choice but to end your life to stop the pain, please contact your local suicide hotline for trained help. If you don’t have that information, please contact the national suicide hotline here: 1 800 273 8255 All calls can be made anonymously.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Joy Perez Stephanie Gullett Lois Pagel Clauss I think we’re all on the same wave length 🙂 ((Hugs)) to you all

  • Lois Pagel Clauss
    7 years ago

    The struggle is real but unknown to many since many of us struggle in silence. To keep a positive outlook is the challenge and we sometimes need to hand it over to our God to go on. For he will be the one carrying us through our darkest hours.

  • Stephanie Gullett
    7 years ago

    Thanks Ellen. Your views are very similiar to mine and I’m glad you posted.

  • Joy Perez
    7 years ago

    Thank you for this post!!! Bless your <3. Just 3 weeks ago, I was suicidal simply due to pain and not being able to live the life I once lived. It was more due to Fibromyalgia pain and weakness, but the idea is still the same. I'm beyond thankful that I sought help, opened up discussions and shed light on the topic. Again, thank you! We need to talk about these issues so ppl know they are NOT alone!

  • Elaine Axten
    7 years ago

    yep. been there!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Elaine Axten Actually, there are many medicines that can cause Medication Overuse Headache (MOH aka rebound) Tylenol, ibuprofen and other NSAIDS, pain meds, even triptans can all result in MOH. MOH is highly under-diagnosed in the headache and Migraine population

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Stephanie DeBarber The odd symptoms you’re describing may be tardive reactions. I don’t know what kind of meds you’re on, but if you are having tardive reactions, you will want to tell your doctor and make sure that they pay attention to them. Tardive reactions can become permanent, even with a single dose of a medicine that can cause them. Many doctors don’t know this. They also don’t know a tardive reaction when they see it. I had mine in a hospital full of doctors and they filled my room to watch, but couldn’t diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, my issues are now permanent. Please be careful. These drugs that cause the reactions can be very good for Migraine, but you need to be aware of the possible reactions.

    It’s also good to remember that Migraine is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means the only way a doctor can diagnose it is to rule everything else out. Many tests are often performed and come back clean. This just confirms your doctor’s suspicions that it is really Migraine.

  • Elaine Axten
    7 years ago

    i have heard the rebound spiel before. it’s crap. if you are not taking narcotics it’s not possible. nobody takes triptans if they don’t have to.

  • Stephanie DeBarber
    7 years ago

    Pain sucks. It is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things to deal with. Not mainly for the pain, but for the stigma attached to it. Pain means you need pain meds. Pain meds normally end up being narcotic meds. Then you are on them so long a 30 pill script is really a 15 one… doctors think your an attic, when all you want is for the pain to stop. And heaven forbid you have a bad reaction to a ‘wonder drug.’ Then they REALLY think you just want the narcotics. I cannot take triptans. So many o doc give me the eye roll when I tell my history. I hate switching docs, but we move alot (military). I dropped my last neuro because he liked to neglect to inform me of when my refural was up, but had no problem sending me bills. I saw 1 other one who wanted me on steroids. That stuff made me so freaking hungry all the time…Now I am just seeing my general doc because I do not want to start again. I research a drug and ask for it and he tells me how to take it. I was worried for a while they may be rebound headaches, but after not having the narcotics for over a month I am sure thats not the case. Every doc always tells me it is rebound. Then they give me stuff that doesn’t work. Some makes it worse. I also get other odd symptoms, like twitching, psychosis, memory loss or distortion… but my mri’s are clean. Oh well…

  • Indrid Em
    7 years ago

    same here, when mine were happeneing every day for a span of years, and nothing I could do would prevent some trigger (or.. no discernable trigger) from happening. My cousin committed suicide due to lifelong, neverending back pain since his childhood, leaving a very polite note behind so none of us would feel as if we hadn’t done everything we could, talked whenever he wanted to talk, etc. It is a very desperate and doomed feeling to think no one can help you, and medical science is not taking you seriously.

  • Lucy Johnson
    7 years ago

    Boo 🙁

  • Rusti Rose Lang
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had mine since I was five and as I’ve grown the frequency of the thoughts have lessened, except for on that rare 3 day occasion where nothing breaks it. I hope that you find that right drug/trigger free combo. I know I’m still searching. Oh, and can I just add for the people reading this who don’t suffer from migraines: they are not just headaches so please quit telling us to take an aspirin or that we’re being dramatic. This is a serious, silent and invisible disease; unless you live with someone who suffers or do yourself you can never know what it is like.

  • Amy Solis
    7 years ago

    I know how you feel i thought i was suffering from regular migraines that made my head want to explode and it turned out to be neurological. Without meds most dats my head is throbbing so i def. sympathize. Migraines are lame!

  • crochetlover11
    7 years ago

    Anti-epileptic drugs (e.g. Depakote and Topamax) have suicidal ideation as one of their side effects. With more and more migraineurs taking these drugs, and given that chronic pain can create its own risks, it’s not too surprising that suicide risk is a concern. Doctors seem hesitant to mention this, perhaps fearing that they might “put the idea in someone’s head,” but it would be a great service to patients to at least talk about this concern on an occasional basis.

  • Janene Zielinski
    7 years ago

    If you have not considered, at some point, every way possible to end the pain – then you probably don’t have severe migraine disease. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. It helps many of us realize we are going through “the normality” of living with migraine. Let’s keep hoping for better understanding and better meds in the near future.

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