Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last review date: December 2019 | Last updated: May 2023
Mood changes are a common symptom of people with migraine. These mood changes may happen before, during, or after the actual migraine attack. Most people report that their mood changes happen during the prodrome phase.1Prodrome takes place a few hours to days before the actual migraine attack.
Mood changes common to migraine
The type of mood changes someone with migraine may feel include:
How are mood changes and migraine connected?
Doctors do not fully understand how mood changes and migraine are connected. In general, they do know that migraine and mood disorders often occur together.2,3 Migraine has been linked to both depression and anxiety. In fact, people with migraine are about 5 times more likely to develop depression than someone who does not.3
Between 30 and 50 percent of those living with chronic migraine report anxiety. For those with episodic migraine, 20 percent report anxiety.3
Living with a chronic illness and not knowing when another attack may occur can cause anxiety and depression. However, this is not always the case. Some doctors believe a chemical change may cause mood changes during a migraine.
How are migraine mood changes treated?
There are no specific treatments for mood changes that come with a migraine. However, treating the migraine attack itself can help relieve symptoms.
If a person with migraine is also diagnosed with a separate mood disorder, several treatment options are available. These include:
What works for one person might not work as well for another. You and your doctor may need to explore what does and does not bring relief for your symptoms.
If you think your mood changes interfere with your ability to function or have thoughts of hurting yourself, talk with your doctor or a trusted friend. You do not have to deal with those feelings alone.
Do you experience mood changes when you have migraines?
Tracking your migraine symptoms
Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:
- When and where your pain or symptoms start
- Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
- How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
- How long your pain or symptoms last
- Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity
Community experiences of migraine and mood changes
Migraine.com advocates often write about their experiences with migraine and mood changes. For some, mood swings be an early warning sign a migraine attack is coming. There's also no shortage of advocates talking about how living with migraine can impact their own mental health.