Migraines Linked to Suicide Risk

Migraine headaches associated with suicide risk

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(RxWiki News) Individuals who suffer from severe headaches, even if they're not migraines, are more likely to attempt suicide. Researchers said the increase could be due to the associated pain severity.

Previous research also indicated that migraine sufferers were more likely to attempt suicide, but the association disappeared once investigators factored in other psychiatric conditions of participants.

"Discuss pain management strategies with your doctor."

Naomi Breslau, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University at East Lansing and leader of the study, initiated the research to determine whether migraines and severe headaches would influence suicide attempts.

During the study investigators enrolled 496 participants with migraines, 151 with severe headaches that were not migraines and 539 randomly selected patients without a history of severe headaches. The participants were assessed in 1997 and again two years later.

After adjusting for various factors including gender, psychiatric disorders and history of previous suicide attempts, researchers found that both the migraine and severe headache groups were at an increased risk of suicide attempts.

Migraine sufferers were 9 percent more likely to attempt suicide, while patients with severe headaches were 10 percent more likely. About 1 percent of the group without headaches reported they had attempted suicide.

Participants who suffered from more severe headaches also were at a higher risk of attempting suicide. For each increased mark in pain score that severe headache or migraine patients reported, their suicide risk increased by 79 percent.

The study was published in journal Headache.

Last Updated:
April 17, 2012