Migraines and ADD/ADHD- Prepare for Sensory Overload!

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You’re not imagining it- if you get frequent migraines, then ADD/ADHD (yes, adults can have it) may also account for your long list of ailments, like nausea, crushing headaches, brain fog, attention problems, and hypersensitivity to lights, sounds, touch, scents- everything! Here are some findings that scientists have linking chronic migraines and ADD/ADHD.

Migraines and ADD/ADHD- Prepare for Sensory Overload!

Migraines and ADD/ADHD

Millions of people suffer excruciating headaches from migraines, and likewise, millions of adults in the US struggle with attention problems and sensory overload caused by ADD/ADHD.

Today, scientists believe that migraines and ADD/ADHD have more in common than we realized, and may provide important clues in devising appropriate treatments for people suffering from  fatigue, disorientation, and a low tolerance for noise, even when they’re not having a migraine attack.

“…we think that this association between ADHD and migraine is mediated by a mutual comorbidity in mood disorders,” explains author Ole Bernt Fasmer, MD, PhD, regarding the study that was published in Psychiatry Weekly.

What do they have in common?

It can’t be a coincidence that some of the strongest migraine triggers involve the senses. In addition to changes in weather, food ingredients, and hormone fluctuations, many sensory-based environmental factors increase your risk for having a migraine attack, including:

  • Bright fluorescent lighting
  • Glare from harsh sunlight
  • Flickering lights
  • Stark white backgrounds
  • Black and white striped or zigzagged patterns
  • Strong perfumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Loud noises
  • Chatter, people talking all at once
  • Large crowds

10 Surprising Facts about Migraines you probably didn’t know

Interestingly enough, the same migraine triggers associated with hypersensitivity are the same ones that bother adults with attention problems ADD/ADHD.

And it isn’t a coincidence. In a famous 2012 study conducted by researchers in Norway, Migraine, Asthma, Mood Disorder, and Comorbid Adult ADHD, scientists found that males with ADHD have a 23% risk for migraines, compared with 11% of the general population. Furthermore, females, who are three times more likely than males to suffer from migraines, have a 34% risk of having severe migraines and ADD/ADHD, compared to 25% in women who don’t have attention problems.

What exactly is ADD/ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) is a condition that we use to describe people exhibiting a certain set of behaviors in relation to their ability to focus, filter out sensory stimuli, and form and execute goals, along with several other cognitive skills.

Currently, about 9 million adults in the US have some form of ADD/ADHD.

Treatments for migraines and ADD/ADHD

As always, learn as much as you can about migraines and ADD/ADHD, and visit an experienced doctor for a correct diagnosis.

To treat migraine headaches and attention problems from ADD/ADHD, your doctor may prescribe medications that address your specific symptoms.

Additionally, many natural vitamins and herbs can help to boost cognitive functioning and sustain energy, enabling patients of migraines and ADD/ADHD to maintain mental focus and alertness throughout the day.

These include essential B vitamins, including riboflavin and vitamin B12, which help to preserve the nervous system.

Other beneficial nutrients include magnesium, CoQ10, and butterbur extracts.

Your turn!

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Like this? Read more:

Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage?

10 Ridiculously Healthy Vitamins for Women Migraine Patients

Brain Fog: Is it Migraine or Head Cold?


Migraine, Asthma, Mood Disorder, and Comorbid Adult ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net