Migraine and Quality of Life
Migraine's impact on our lives include much more than the physical symptoms. While painful attacks, nausea, and vision changes can obviously affect us tremendously, there are even more aspects of our daily lives that are strongly impacted by living with migraine - such as career, relationships, and even the psyche. Talking about the influence of these intangibles in measurable terms can help us know we are not alone.
Those experiencing more migraines per month are more likely to feel the psychological impact and feel at fault. A majority of respondents feel that others don’t believe their migraines are severe.
Some even blame themselves and feel embarrassed about having migraines, or they feel they feel that they are being blamed by others. The stigma associated with migraine is very real- for example, dealing with people who believe the misconception that it's 'just a headache' or the false belief that people with migraine can't deal with stress well, and therefore cannot handle many responsibilities at work. This kind of stigma makes it even more difficult for people with migraine to live with the condition. 55% of respondents constantly worry about disappointing people.
Not surprisingly, migraine can affect even the closest of relationships, particularly for those experiencing chronic migraine. 6% of respondents indicated that migraines contributed to their divorce/separation.
For many respondents, the relationships with their family and friends is impacted. In fact more than 40% of all respondents noted that migraine impacted the relationship with their children. However similar to other research, friendships are impacted the least due to migraines.
Migraine affects more than personal relationships. Survey respondents who experienced more migraine per month were also more likely to feel that their doctors treated them differently because of their migraines.
More than 70% of respondents noted that migraines impacted their career and some even noted job loss due to migraine.
While respondents newer to migraines have not felt as much impact as their counterparts with “more experience,” over time most are apt to have their careers impacted by migraine.
It’s no surprise that migraine can impact career - Even just making it into the office or school can be a challenge for many with migraine!
In addition to impacting attendance, migraine frequency also impacts overall productivity. Respondents on average experienced 15 days over the last 3 months in which their work or school productivity was reduced by half or more.
Those new to migraine while coping with symptoms and diagnosis, are finding their work and school attendance most impacted.
Seasoned migraine sufferers have learned from years of experience how to juggle their migraines and schedules.
But for those with migraine, it’s more than the “obvious” absentee days from work or school. Migraine frequency affects the ability to perform household chores. So while performance on the job is affected, performance on household tasks is impacted as well.
On average, respondents cite that their household work productivity was reduced by half or more for an average of 18 days over the last 3 months.
Migraine frequency affects the ability to attend family, social, or leisure events. While the time missed with family and friends slightly reduces over time as individuals become more “experienced” with migraine there is not a significant difference among patients.
As we know, migraine, like many chronic conditions, can be isolating... it is particularly difficult to maintain relationships when migraine prevents us from spending as much time with friends and family as we might like.