Migraine headaches have been associated with anxiety and depression, but researchers in Taiwan have found a link between migraine frequency and mood disorders.
A team of researchers from the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan, found patients with anxiety and depression had more frequent migraines than patients without anxiety and depression.
Prior research has found that headaches can be a common symptom and indicator of an anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder.
In a 2009 study, researchers found 11 percent of migraine patients in the study had either major depression, general anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, dysthymia, substance abuse disorders and other mental health diagnoses.
Experts say migraine patients are two to five times more likely to have either anxiety or depression, and a study published earlier this year suggests anxiety is “robustly” linked to migraine headaches.
The current study, published today in Headache, consisted of 588 patients in an outpatient headache clinic in Taiwan who were analyzed for their migraine frequency, demographic data and sleep habits.
The study found emotional distress and migraine frequency can be intertwined due to a common pathophysiological mechanism. Sleep quality, or lack there of, due to migraines was also a significant factor leading to severe depression and anxiety.
“These findings potentially suggest that adequate medical treatment to decrease headache frequency may reduce the risk of depression and anxiety in migraine patients,” Dr. Fu-Chi Yang, an investigator in the Department of Neurology, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taiwan, said in a statement.
By Amy Wallace