Comorbidities: Anxiety

Just as with depression, anxiety is commonly associated with migraine attacks. Researchers have observed a higher prevalence of this condition in the migraine population than in the non-migraine population.

Is there a connection between migraine and anxiety?

There is such a strong comorbid relationship between anxiety and migraine that some researchers believe it is stronger than depression and migraine disease.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is characterized as a state of worry or fear that can range from mild to extremely debilitating, manifested through physical reactions to this worry and fear. Anxiety becomes problematic when an individual's response is out of proportion to the situation and interferes with their ability to do what they need and want to do in life.

What is the correlation?

In a 2004 study, researchers reported finding a significant correlation between anxiety disorders and migraine disease. In that study, 9.1% of migraineurs experienced anxiety, while only 2.5% of the non-migraine population did. Even after researchers adjusted for other variables, including other common pain conditions such as back pain and arthritis, migraine's correlation with anxiety was more significant.

What types are related?

In another research study of young adults, the greatest correlation between anxiety and migraine was for two specific types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia.

Can anxiety worsen migraine?

The important takeaway about the relationship between these two conditions is that appropriate treatment of one condition is often helpful to the improvement of the other condition. As with depression and migraine disease, anxiety and migraine have a relationship in which worsening of one condition can worsen the other condition and vice-versa.

How can anxiety be treated?

Anxiety is often successfully treated with psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy. Relaxation techniques, exercise, and stress management strategies can also be incredibly helpful.

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