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Migraines and Social Life

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last review date: November 2010

The unpredictable nature of migraines make it very difficult for many migraine sufferers to actively participate in a robust social life. Many say migraines and social life don’t mix because the severity of the migraine symptoms cause them to abruptly cancel plans or exit an event suddenly.

What statistics are there on social life?

  • 66 percent are afraid of letting people down because of migraines
  • 54 percent say migraines interfere with relationships
  • 35 percent say migraines interfere with how they get along with colleagues at work
  • 34 percent feel they aren’t in control of their lives because of migraines
  • 27 percent consider migraines when planning their social schedules

(Note: Data from a 1996 U.K. study)

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How does migraine impact the family?

A 2004 U.S. study found that 61 percent of migraine sufferers thought their migraine attacks significantly impacted their families. Sixty-two percent of people with migraines in the study said they delayed activities with their children and 69 percent delayed activities with their spouses. Also, 5 percent blamed migraines on their divorce or separation.

Migraines also impact the entire family financially. For example, a family with a migraine sufferer has 70 percent higher health care costs than a family with no migraines. Pharmacy costs were twice as high for the family of the person with migraines.

How can you balance migraine with a social life?

Keep a migraine journal — write down every piece of information about each migraine episode. These details on what foods you ate, the time of day, any weather changes, how much sleep you had and your emotional state before your migraine began will help you determine your migraine triggers. Once you figure out your personal migraine triggers list you’ll have a better chance of avoiding them.

Don’t overdo it — sometimes when we feel great, we push ourselves. Be mindful that you still need to keep a regular schedule for eating, sleeping, working, exercise and recreation to help prevent migraine attacks.

Recognize early signs of migraine — if you understand when a migraine is beginning, you have a better chance of starting treatment early before the symptoms worsen.