Physical health issues can coincide with mental health issues sometimes, and a new study demonstrates this connection. Researchers found a link between migraines in women and a later development of depression.
The study looked at 36,154 women, and researchers tracked the participants for around 14 years, according to a press release. Out of the 6,456 women who had a migraine in the past or present, over half (3,971) ended up suffering from depression around 14 years later. Researchers concluded that “women with any history of migraine were about 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without a history of migraine,” according to the release.
Experts share their opinions on the study, and why migraines might lead to depression later in life for women.
Dr. Daniel Kantor, president of the Florida Society of Neurology and medical director of Neurologique, an organization focused on patient-centered care, research and education, said in an email that there are multiple reasons that could explain the results of the study.
“Women with [migraines] are more likely to utilize medical resources, and therefore they are more likely to seek care, and their physicians may notice the signs of depression (and the women without migraines weren't being seen in these physician offices),” Kantor said.
In addition, he added that there could be a genetic link between depression and migraines. Then there is also the consideration that depression could lead to migraines, instead of migraines being the actual cause of depression.
“Migraines can be very serious and can lead to pain, isolation and sadness,” Kantor said. “Sometimes they may lead to depression as well. Medications used for migraines may contribute to depression (although usually the same medications that treat depression also treat migraines).”
He said that the causes of both migraines and depression can be similar, so it makes sense there would be an association.
“We know that both depression and migraines involve altered neurotransmitters (chemical [in] the brain) - there could be one underlying problem that leads to both,” Kantor said.