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Migraines and Feeling Hopeless - Hang On!

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

Migraines and headaches can take so much out of us that we lose hope, sometimes feeling as if we just can't go on another day. We've all been there.

We're worn out by...

  • the pain...
  • the other symptoms...
  • the problems Migraines and headaches cause for our families...
  • missing events we want to attend...
  • the problems Migraines and headaches cause at work...
  • medications...
  • doctors...
  • and, oh, so much more.

Cluster headaches are sometimes called "suicide headaches" because the pain is so severe that it has lead people to take their lives.

After an extensive analysis of statistics from a long list of government resources, Dr. Robert Shapiro discovered that:

"Based on a sample of Americans, suicide attempts are three times more likely in individuals with migraine with aura compared to those with no migraine, whether or not major depression is also present."1

Suicide and other self-harming behaviors are issues people don't like to discuss. They're whispered about and hidden, which stigmatizes such not only the behaviors, but even just thoughts of them, to the point that all too many people won't tell anyone. They're so ashamed or embarrassed that they hide their fears and feelings rather than putting them under a light to examine them or getting help.

To help us deal with such feelings and know that it's more than all right to talk about them and seek help, let me share some information with you. If you've already learned about this information, please take a look at it again.

Migraine and depression are often comorbid conditions, meaning that we can have both at the same time, but neither causes the other. Both are real diseases with real treatments. Migraine and depression may even be linked genetically. You can find more information on this in Migraine and Depression May Be Linked Genetically.

During a Migraine attack, levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are affected. Their levels can swing widely, causing our moods to swing just as widely. This can make us feel depression, anxiety, and panic during a Migraine attack even if we don't have a depressive, panic, or anxiety disorder.

Here's a personal truth for you. The only time in my entire life that I've experienced panic attacks is during Migraine attacks. I've curled up in the fetal position on our bathroom floor more than once during a Migraine attack, telling my husband that something was horribly wrong and pleading with him to help me. I've discussed this with my doctor. One part of my Migraine treatment is now to take Zanaflex if I'm starting to notice feelings of panic during a Migraine. It helps me deal with panic while waiting for Migraine abortives to work.

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