Adolescents With Migraines More At Risk of Pain Disorders

Adolescents With Migraines More At Risk of Pain Disorders

According to a new 2021 study which examines the development of psychiatric and pain disorders in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, adolescents who have a diagnosis of migraine are far more likely to develop additional psychiatric or pain disorders than adolescents who don’t suffer from migraines.

The study looked at the 2006 and following ten years of health insurance data from 56,597 German 15 year-olds to find out whether adolescents with a migraine diagnosis were more at risk of developing comorbid pain or psychiatric conditions.

The comorbid conditions which were looked for included; mood disorders, stress-related disorders, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and behavioural syndromes associated with physiological disturbances. Any patients who had headaches which were not variations of migraine, and patients who had already been diagnosed with one of the comorbid conditions, were excluded from the final study. 

The research showed that 88.4% of the patients with migraine developed at least one of the comorbid conditions during the ten-year period.

The likelihood of migraine patients developing a comorbid condition, when compared with non-migraine suffering adolescents was; a 2.1 times higher likelihood for affective or mood disorders, 1.8 times higher for stress-related disorders and also 1.8 times for behavioural syndromes, 1.6 times higher for back pain, and 1.5 times higher for irritable bowel syndrome. Overall, the migraine patients were 1.3 times more likely to develop one or more of the evaluated additional disorders.

The authors of the study suggested that the increased risk may also increase the impact which migraine had on a sufferer’s well-being, and they emphasized that early evaluation of risks for additional disorders was vital in the care of these patients, and might improve the long-term outcome significantly.

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