It’s hard to pinpoint what happened first: my anxiety or migraines. is starting to ache), your stomach flips over, and suddenly a wave of intense anxiety hits you…and fear.
Both conditions are chronic and can, to some extent, significantly affect my quality of life. It’s a depressing confirmation of what we already knew. But what’s the science behind the link?
The relationship between migraines and anxiety
“People who suffer from migraines, especially chronic migraines, are more likely to suffer from anxiety as well,” confirms Hana Patel, Ph.D., a GP and mental health expert. It has been shown that there is an association between the number of days you suffer from migraines and the presence of symptoms of anxiety and depression,” she says. stylist.
According to the charity The Migraine Trust, anxiety is the most common mental health problem associated with migraines, and studies show that having three migraine days each month significantly increases the risk of anxiety. I’m here.
“Migraines and anxiety are closely related. They share similar clinical features and symptoms, and both are transient in nature,” says licensed psychologist Catherine Harrisy. I will explain. “They go both ways, each increasing the risk of the other, meaning that if you suffer from migraines, you are more likely to experience anxiety disorders and vice versa.”
Do migraines cause anxiety…or does anxiety cause migraines?
Knowing that you are prone to severe and long-lasting migraines, but having no idea when an attack will strike can cause anxiety in even the most calm of personality. It can be difficult to pinpoint which is the cause, but it’s worth identifying both triggers given that the end result is equally unpleasant for both.
“Given similar clinical features and symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose one in the presence of the other,” agrees Hallissey. “But given the high rate of anxiety among migraine sufferers, screening for anxiety is also important.”
What triggers a migraine or anxiety attack?
“Both anxiety and migraines can start in the same way and affect people in the same way,” explains Dr. Patel. People who suffer from migraines may feel more anxious because they don’t know when the next migraine will occur. Feeling anxious is a natural reaction and this can make migraines worse.”
Additionally, both conditions can be hormonally driven, with studies showing women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men, and factors such as poor sleep and an unbalanced diet also play a role in both. .
“Psychosocial stress is a common trigger for migraine attacks, as is anxiety disorders. Both migraines and anxiety have a significant impact on quality of life,” says Halisey.
Tips for Dealing with Migraines and Anxiety
The good news is that they are so closely related that any steps you can take to alleviate either migraines or anxiety are likely to work for both.
According to Dr. Katie Munroe, author of Management of migraines, stress management is an important tool for managing chronic migraine.on her podcast headache, migraine, menopause, runningshe tells Dr. Juliette McGrattan about the benefits of simple breathing exercises, meditation and yoga, and how these calming strategies can help you feel less anxious about migraine attacks and feel more relaxed. Talk about how it helps.
“Slow breathing exercises that focus on slow exhalation are good for improving the parasympathetic nervous system,” explains Dr. McGrattan. “And we’ve found that just having a good management plan and being confident that you can manage an attack if it does occur can reduce anxiety about migraines.”
“Reducing the frequency of headaches through medication, lifestyle changes, and managing triggers is key to reducing the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder,” advises Harrisy. and anxiety management strategies should also be part of the treatment plan.”
“Studies have also shown that medication for anxiety can reduce migraine frequency and symptoms,” says Dr. Patel.
And remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you have any concerns, please consult your family doctor. If necessary, we may be able to suggest talking about treatment along with your medication.
Dr. Patel also recommends quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and increasing exercise levels to reduce anxiety. It probably has some effect on migraines as well. I have also created an exercise therapy.
As with many other problems, a more holistic, systemic approach is recommended — and the rewards are plentiful.