The Hidden Link Between Headaches & Depression

A mother with a headache, two children fighting in the background( — If you suffer from migraines and depression, you are not alone. There is ongoing evidence of a significant link between severe headaches or migraines and depression.

Depression can often be caused by the unrelenting pain of severe headaches. Just knowing that a chronic disorder is disrupting your life, and that the painful headaches can return at any time, can result in depression. But even if the migraines haven’t upset you in this way, headache experts say that depression can be brought on as a physical byproduct of the same chemical imbalances in the brain that cause the headaches. Regardless of the root cause, if you are suffering from depression, see your doctor because this condition can be successfully treated.

“The average patient with migraines will not be depressed and should not be tagged this way,” says Seymour Diamond, MD, executive chairman of the National Headache Foundation and director of the Inpatient Headache Unit at Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago. But those with chronic migraines easily become depressed.”

Headache and Depression: Research Finds the Combination

A study at Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma, Wash., showed that soldiers returning from combat service in Iraq who suffer from migraines are twice as likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, compared with soldiers who do not have migraines.