More than 29.5 million Americans experience migraines, and three-quarters are women. A migraine is a severe, debilitating form of headache that typically appears as a throbbing ache near the side of the forehead and is normally accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea and sensitivity to light. The exact causes of migraines are unknown, but many migraines seem to be triggered by external factors, including emotional stress, sensitivity to specific chemicals in foods, caffeine, changes in normal sleep patterns, and dehydration.


A new study shows that women who have migraines are about 40% more likely to develop depression than women who have never experienced migraines. The risk of depression in these women appears to stay elevated even if the pain stops. In the study which was conducted from the Women’s Health Study, after taking into account the women’s age, smoking and drinking habits, and other extenuating factors, researchers found that the type of migraine did not influence depression risk.


This study helps get closer to establishing the well-known link between migraines and depression. At this point in time, there is no clear explanation for the migraine-depression link. Both biological factors and a lower quality of life due to migraines may play a role.  The study also highlights the need for doctors and their female patients who suffer from migraines to talk about the possible risk of depression.


This study highlights an interesting connection between women who suffer from migraines and the risk of depression, but it barely scratches the surface. The connection between migraines and depression could be a brain chemical that contributes to both conditions. However, there is no reason why this link would not also apply to men. For now, migraine sufferers are encouraged to keep a journal to identify specific triggers. The entries should include details about the headache, foods eaten, hours slept, and other factors that might trigger migraines. Migraine-sufferers who suffer from depression may be able to take an antidepressant.