Anxiety and depression are associated with various pains and migraines

It is a well established fact that migraine sufferers are 2-3 times more likely to develop anxiety and depression. The reverse is also true: if you suffer from anxiety and depression, you are 2-3 times more likely to develop migraine headaches. These associations are called comorbidities. Anxiety and depression are also comorbid with other pain syndromes. A group of Dutch researchers examined records of almost 3,000 patients with anxiety and depression to look for the presence of comorbid migraines and pain in the back, neck, face, abdomen, joints, and chest. All patients were interviewed twice, with a two year interval, and were asked if they had any of those pains in the preceding 6 months. Their results, published in The Journal of Pain, clearly show that having anxiety and depression increases the risk of developing migraines and other pain syndromes equally. So, this association is not specific to migraines, but applies to all pain syndromes. This means that anxiety and depression do not cause headaches and pain and the other way around. Most likely, one condition predisposes the sufferer to develop the other. It is also likely that shared genetic predisposition or the involvement of certain brain chemicals that are involved in both pain and depression, such as serotonin, adrenalin, and other, may be responsible for these associations.

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