Comorbidities: Depression

Depression is one of the most recognized comorbid conditions associated with migraine disease. While it is undoubtedly true that living with migraines increases the tendency you will experience depression, there are certain overlaps in the brain that predispose migraineurs toward dealing with depression.

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and despair, fatigue, changes in appetite, loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, thoughts of suicide, poor concentration, and aches and pains that do not go away with treatment. While almost everyone feels down from time to time, depression is much more consuming and difficult to overcome. It interferes with your ability to do the things you want and need to do in your life.

In 2009, researchers presented a study regarding the relationship between major depressive episodes and migraine disease at the joint meeting of the International Headache Congress and American Headache Society.

According to Psych Central: “A person who suffers from a major depressive episode must either have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a 2 week period.”

Researchers used data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS) to examine the relationship between depression and migraine. Survey participants who had never experienced major depressive disorder at the beginning of the study were divided into groups based on migraine status to try to determine whether a history of migraine disease posed a significant risk of development of a major depressive episode.

Among study participants with migraine disease, the risk of experiencing a major depressive episode was 22.2%. The overall occurrence of major depressive episodes among all study participants was 14.9%.

As with anxiety and migraine disease, treatment of one condition is thought to be likely to improve the other condition. Conversely, lack of treatment for one condition tends to worsen the other. For this reason it is extremely important for patients to be properly diagnosed and treated.

Treatments for depression include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, medication, exercise and a variety of more intense, invasive therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy.

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.
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