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DEPRESSION AND MIGRAINES: AN UNHAPPY LINK

Many of the patients I see for mental health problems are also suffering from migraines, and it’s not a coincidence. Studies have shown a scientific link between the two conditions.

This article cites a few of the studies: One found that women suffering from migraines have a 50 percent greater risk (though it could be as high as twice the risk) for developing depression, and another suggested 4 in 10 people with chronic migraines are depressed.

There’s an obvious surface-level connection. It’s hard to be cheerful when your body is experiencing severe, debilitating pain. But it’s deeper than that. Researchers believe the link goes both ways: Depression can increase your risk for migraines.

It’s not clear why, though it’s likely genetic (read: your family passed on a risk for both). The connection could even be tied to the size of your brain.

Like with so many health conditions, exercise, diet and stress reduction can go a long way in treating both migraines and depression. That’s why I believe so strongly in a holistic approachto your mental health: It’s inextricably linked to your physical and spiritual well-being.

If you’re experiencing both migraines and depression, find hope in the fact that as you work on healing one of those, the other will likely improve as well.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.

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