Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?

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Throughout the years, scientists have conducted many studies linking chronic migraines with anxiety attacks and panic disorder; other symptoms associated with migraine headaches include phobias, depression, and bipolar disorder.


Anxiety and migraine illness occur together

In a 2009 study, scientists Gregory E. Ratcliffe B.Sc. and Jitender Sareen M.D., F.R.C.P.C. observed the correlation between chronic headaches and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

According to researchers, certain people are more susceptible to mood disorders such as anxiety disorder and depression than others are- and those people are also more likely to experience chronic migraine than people who don’t suffer from anxiety attacks.

Clinical study links migraines with mental disorders

The study, published by General Hospital Psychiatry, focused on over four thousand test subjects from an earlier study on migraines- the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey.

CAN ANXIETY ATTACKS CAUSE MIGRAINES? WWW.MIGRAVENT.COMAbout Eleven percent of German migraine patients suffered from migraine headaches in addition to at least one of several mental disorders, including:

  • Chronic depression
  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Panic disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Agoraphobia
  • General phobias

“Together, migraine and mental disorders cause more impairment than alone,” says lead study author Gregory Ratcliffe, University of Manitoba, Canada.  “Patients who have one condition should be assessed for the other so they can be treated holistically.  Although it is important to know that both are present, treating one will have an effect on the other.”

Migraines are a recurring nightmare

Scientists also discovered that migraine patients who suffer from anxiety are 40% more likely to suffer from severe depression, as well.  Researchers have observed a cyclic relationship between depression, anxiety, and migraine attacks.  Depressed individuals begin to experience symptoms of anxiety, which include heart palpitations, nervousness, feelings of despair, and uncontrolled thought patterns.  The aftermath of anxiety attacks often includes migraine; among the many symptoms of chronic migraines, depression is one of the most common, and so the cycle continues.


Dealing with anxiety and migraines

Migraine headache specialists recommend the following tips for preventing migraines and anxiety:

  • CAN ANXIETY ATTACKS CAUSE MIGRAINES? WWW.MIGRAVENT.COMAcknowledge the reality of the situation by doing your research.  The more you learn about your brain and migraine illness, the sooner you will come to realize that there are perfectly reasonable, scientifically proven explanations for all the symptoms of anxiety you are experiencing.
  • Keep track of migraine triggers by keeping a headache journal.
  • Practice guided meditation, relaxation techniques, and exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi, all of which focus on quieting the mind.
  • Stay regular.  Migraines sufferers are very sensitive to fluctuations, so sleep regular hours, eat at regular intervals, and prepare yourself for hormonal changes such as menopause, menstruation, pregnancy, and perimenopause.
  • Seek out natural migraine ingredients, such as butterbur, magnesium, and riboflavin.

Read more about preventing migraines:


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