Migraines can cause feelings of guilt, affect the whole family – ModVive

While approximately 38 million Americans suffer from migraines, many more are affected by the condition, particularly the families of those struggling with the condition.

The effects of migraines on families were recently quantified in a preliminary study led by Dawn Buse, a clinical psychologist and director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City.

“I hear firsthand about the tragic effect that chronic migraine has on every aspect of people’s lives, including work and home life,” said Buse.

Still, anecdotal evidence is different than statistical analysis, so Buse and coworkers teamed up with the survey company, Research Now, to find willing participants in the study. The researchers were able to recruit almost 1000 participants who met the criteria for chronic migraine. Chronic migraine is defined as having 15 or more migraines in a month. Participants and their families answered web based questionnaires pertaining to family activities, routines, and how they felt overall.

Close to 60 percent of the participants responded they felt they would be better parents if they didn’t suffer from migraines. Also, almost 75 percent of individuals suffering from chronic migraine indicated they thought they would be better spouses if not for their headaches.

Aside from emotional effects, migraines also made people opt out of family activities, even sometimes making them cancel a vacation.

Migraines are so common, migraine suffers have their own name, migraineurs. However, oftentimes those on the outside don’t understand the huge toll that the illness can take. Buse hopes that the study will shed some light on the surrounding issues, possibly garnering additional funds as well.

“I think the results may surprise some who hold the view that migraine is ‘just a headache’ and hopefully shed light on the far-reaching effects of this debilitating condition,” says Buse.

Migraines are often described as an “invisible illness”, and family members don’t always understand the extent of suffering a loved one is enduring. For those suffering from migraines, experts advise that communication is key to improving relationships and eliminating stress.

The study, funded by Allergan Inc., has not yet been published, so the results should be viewed as preliminary.

Migraines can cause feelings of guilt, affect the whole family – ModVive

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