In a recent study of more than 1,000 women with headache, those with chronic headache were four times more likely to report symptoms of major depression than women whose headaches are episodic. Chronic headache sufferers were also three times more likely to report other headache-related symptoms, such as low energy, trouble sleeping and dizziness.
I’m astonished by this finding: “The women with a diagnosis of severely disabling migraine had a 32-fold increased risk of major depression if they also reported other severe symptoms.” Thirty-two times. (If you fall into this category, as I do, consider putting someone on depression patrol — someone you see often and that you will listen to when they tell you that you seem depressed. It really helps.)
There’s a lot of debate over which comes first, pain or depression. There is no clear-cut answer, a topic that the study’s author broaches diplomatically: “Painful physical symptoms may provoke or be a manifestation of major depression in women with chronic headache, and depression may heighten pain perception.” Well put.