Migraine, Fibromyalgia, and Suicide Risk


Fifteen percent of the population has migraine and 2% to 8% fibromyalgia, with both disorders more common in women than men and with fibromyalgia being more common with increasing age, especially around 50 years old.

In a recent study published in Neurology, September 2015, ten percent of migraine patients in a headache clinic had fibromyalgia. Thirty-five percent of that group had chronic migraine, meaning headaches at least half of the time.

This is obviously a severely disabled group of patients, but suicidal ideation was 58% in the combined migraine and fibromyalgia group versus 24% in the migraine group only. Suicide attempts were 18% versus 6%. The take-home message is that migraine patients should be asked about other chronic pain disorders and especially symptoms of depression. The idea that asking about suicide will cause somebody to go out and commit suicide is widely held but quite wrong.

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