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Migraine sufferers 'at risk of depression'

9th January 2007

Women with chronic headaches and migraines are more likely to suffer from depression, according to scientists.

Based on a study of 1032 women and published in today's issue of Neurology, the researchers found those who suffered from episodes of headache were more likely to report feeling depressed.

They were also three times more likely to have a host of other problems including low energy levels, trouble sleeping, nausea and dizziness.

Those with severe migraines were 32 times more likely to experience the symptoms of major depression if the patient experienced other severe symptoms.

"Painful physical symptoms may provoke or be a manifestation of major depression in women with chronic headache, and depression may heighten pain perception," said study author Gretchen Tietjen, managing director of the University of Toledo-Health Science Campus.

"This relation between migraine and major depression suggests a common neurobiology."

Dr Tietjen, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, added: "Regardless of what's causing the link between migraine and depression, psychiatric disease such as depression complicates headache management and can lead to poorer outcomes for headache management."

According to the Migraine Trust, ten million people in the UK experience headache and migraine. Studies have also found three times as many women than men are migraine sufferers.