Study Assesses Link of Preexisting Mental Disorders with Chronic Headaches

Last Updated: 19 Feb 2020
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Newswise — CHICAGO, Feb. 24, 2015 — A new study published in The Journal of Pain reports an association between a broad range of pre-existing mental disorders and subsequent onset of severe or frequent headaches. The Journal of Pain is the peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society, www.americanpainsociety.org.

Several studies have shown that headaches are linked with emotional problems and occur twice as often in persons with depressive/anxiety disorders. However, it is not yet clear if the relationship between emotional problems and headaches is confined to depression and anxiety or includes a broader spectrum of mental illnesses.

A multinational team of researchers evaluated global data from 19 WHO World Mental Health Surveys in different nations involving more than 50,000 subjects. They investigated the association between preexisting mood, anxiety, impulse control and substance use disorders with subsequent onset of frequent or severe headaches.

Results showed that after adjusting for influences of sex, age and mental disorder comorbidity, a broad range of mental disorders increased the likelihood of developing severe and frequent headaches by 40 percent. This supports the hypothesis that people with mental disorders may be more vulnerable to headaches after the mental disorder occurs.
The authors also found that respondents with early-onset preexisting mental disorders (prior to the age of 21) had a 21 percent higher risk for developing headaches than persons with later onset mental disorders.

Source- The American Pain Society 

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  1. Yes re head aches I used to be a monthly migrane sufferer now with menopause over only suffer occasionally but my night time meds 250 mgs seroquel makes me sweat a lot during the night and I am woken most nights with sharp headaches in the very early am hours. I have had MRI on my head which bought up no concerning evidence. Without seroquel I don’t sleep a wink.I never had these sharp night time headaches before taking seroquel but was instead became addicted to sleeping pills and doctor shopping to get the scripts for them. I have learnt to live with the headaches now for years as the importance of sleep and rest my mind receives from seroquel out weighs the disruption of the headache.

  2. My headaches have increased over the last few months. When they come on my personality changes to the Dr. Jekyl and Mr Hyde. I keep track of my migraine days and my behavior, which is also being monitored by a friend who is usually the one who suffers from my mood change. My dx are Depression, Bipoloar 1 and Borderline personality disorder. Dr is only treating me for the depression which is causing more stress that he’s not listening to me when I tell him about the headaches. So yes, I do see a connection in headaches and my mental disorders.

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