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Mood Changes

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.1 Prodrome 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.

Poll

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.

Written by: Jessica Johns Pool | Last review date: December 2019
  1. The Timeline of a Migraine Attack. American Migraine Foundation. Available at https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/timeline-migraine-attack/ Accessed 11/26/19.
  2. Migraine and mood disorders: Prevalence, clinical correlations, and disability. J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2019 Jan-Mar; 10(1). Doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_146_18.
  3. The Link Between Migraine, Depression, and Anxiety. American Migraine Foundation. Available at https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/link-between-migraine-depression-anxiety/ Accessed 11/26/19.