Bipolar Disorder and Migraine Link

There’s a new study out that suggests a link between bipolar disorder and migraines. More specifically, “six percent of the study’s healthy control group had migraines, compared with 31 percent of the 412 bipolar patients.”

As someone who has bipolar and who also suffers from chronic debilitating migraines, I found this study very validating to my situation.

Researchers found that those with bipolar disorder who experience migraines are “at risk for worse psycho-social functioning, more severe depression, and earlier onset of bipolar symptoms.”

This gives me all the more reason to keep working with my doctors to decrease the frequency of my migraines. There have been many times I have just wanted to give up, thinking that this is as good as it gets, but then I tell myself that I have to keep trying, keep fighting, keep searching – new meds, new doctors, new triggers, new ideas, just keep talking to people and researching.

Over the past three years my migraines have went from 3-4 per week to 1-2 per month! What a huge difference!!! It took a lot of trial and error and perseverance and patience to get to this point, but it was worth the relief from the horrific pain these migraines can bring.

Do you have bipolar and suffer from migraines too?


6 thoughts on “Bipolar Disorder and Migraine Link

  1. I’m happy to say I’ve been spared migraines. Good thing, I wrestled with a toothache this weekend and basically just curled up in bed and refused to meet the day. I don’t do well with physical pain.


  2. My boyfriend (of 10 years) has bipolar disorder. He cycles rapidly, has difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, has frequent bouts of suicide watch, is on 4 medications (down from 7) to control the moods/sleep/suicidal tendencies, and is very difficult to motivate.

    Coupled with all of the difficulties he faces on a daily basis, he is also faced with massive debilitating cluster migraines. He has spent time in a hospital for it and has been on several different medications which have failed to control them with any success. They make it impossible for him to hold a job. At least every other day, if not every day he has a headache bad enough that he cannot work.

    Nothing has helped. Nothing has even made a dent in any of the pain. Even narcotic pain relievers do nothing to relieve the pain.

    And people don’t understand. Even I have difficulties with it. There are days when he says, “I have a headache so I didn’t do it.” And I find myself saying, “But you always have a headache.”

    Doctors don’t believe him. Employers don’t believe him. Even family members, both mine and his, don’t believe him. How do you handle that? How do I? It’s infuriating that this isn’t something that people haven’t thought of.


    • That sounds so difficult and frustrating for everyone involved. I know it was hell for me until my migraines were gotten under control. Narcotics didn’t help. A drug called Imitrex takes them away now when I get them which is only once or twice a month. I uses to get them 3 x a week!

      I don’t get them as often now because I take 2 medicines, proponol and Topomax, to prevent them. It took me working with several doctors and finally a neurologist over the course of 2 years to get things under control.

      I hope your boyfriend doesn’t give up and keeps searching for and demanding relief like I did, and finds it soon.


      • Imitrex makes him sick. He took Topomax, but it really put the dopey into to the nickname of “Dopomax”. I looked up propanolol. That was one they discussed his last stint in the hospital with the headaches and they refused to put him on it because his blood pressure was running 100/60 or lower.

        He does get accupuncture, which provides some mild temporary relief, but it doesn’t last long. I’m still not sure what we can do. Since his medical care is through the VA, it’s difficult to find a doctor who’s willing to try to find the solution. I almost feel that if we were going through a regular insurance company with doctors who were more motivated by the money they made through frequent visits, that we’d get more answers.

        Who knows?


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