Those of us who suffer from migraines could literally fill volumes about how incredibly painful and intense they can be. Unfortunately, for those of us who experience severe headaches, there's even more bad news. According to a new study, women with migraines or a history of the severe headaches are approximately 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without migraines. How's that for adding insult to injury?
Although you've really got to wonder -- is this even news?
I tend to scratch my head when I read studies like this: Researchers looked at more than 36,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Study, and found that after 14 years, depression had developed among those who suffered from migraines at a higher rate. Now, I appreciate all this talk of numbers. However, I can't help but think that if these researchers were to just ask someone with chronic migraines if they thought they were at risk for depression, they would come to a similar conclusion.
As anyone who gets severe headaches can tell you, it's not just the brain-crunching pain that's so awful, it's the stress of knowing that one could rear its ugly head at any time and potentially set us back for the day or days. That kind of fear and pain can really do a number on our daily happiness and quality of life. The fact that there may be a link between chronic pain and depression -- yeah, that just seems like a no-brainer to me.
Obvious conclusions aside, what can come from this study? Being aware of the connection could go a long way in helping physicians understand the bigger picture of what is really going on for their patients. Instead of simply prescribing medication that specifically relieves the migraines or depression symptoms, doctors could also suggest more holistic ways to improve patients' overall mental health and quality of life. The goal shouldn't be just how to live with migraines and depression -- it should be how to live well with these conditions.
Do you get migraines?
Image via Sarah G .../Flickr