I was wondering if there is any correlation that is known between migraines and the bipolar illness?

I was wondering if there is any correlation that is known between migraines and the bipolar illness?


I was wondering if there’s any correlation that is
known between migraines and the Bipolar Illness?

Before having done ANY research on this subject I would have bet my entire annual income (before taxes & deductions !) on my answer and would have been several thousand dollars richer!! Of course whom would I bet…Marybeth? Naw, I couldn’t do that to her. Wait, I know the owner of Apple for letting me use their Mac computer to write my posts! Yeah that could work don’t ya think so? Yeah that would work! I am SOOOO smart!!


And if you sat down for a bit and really thought about it I’m sure most of you, even most of you men ( I’ll get to that in a bit, I promise I’m not being sexist) would agree.

I know for myself, prior to being diagnosed I was getting migraines on average 5 to 7 times a month. I also suffered from cluster headaches and just plain old regular headaches. This had been going on since I was a teenager. I had CT cans done, then as I got older MRI”s done to rule out tumors and any other brain abnormalities. All the tests showed nothing.

My father and mother both suffered from headaches but it was my father had the migraines. The doctors all said that migraines were probably hereditary. We now know that there is a possible genetic link. I can remember as a child watching my father bang his lightly against the wall to make the pain stop.

I certainly didn’t understand at the time why he would do that. It made no sense to me to bang your head if it already hurt. Now I understand completely! When you have a migraine the pain is so severe and unrelenting, you’d do just about anything to make it stop.

Now for the scientific stuff and medical findings. Experts still don’t have a full and complete understanding of this phenomenon, but one thing is absolutely clear; there is a definite connection between those who have migraines and those who have bipolar.

It is estimated that 25 to 40% of people who have bipolar disorder also have migraine headaches. Women tend to get migraine headaches more than men do. Approximately 18% of women get migraines compared to the 7% of men who get migraines. Experts are specific in noting that even though the same person can have bipolar and migraines, one DOES NOT cause the other. Most likely they are fairly certain that it is brain chemistry that is inherited and shared. They also believe that certain aspects of brain chemistry are the same for migraines and bipolar disorder! Experts are also quick to point out that we know bipolar disorder is hereditary and those who have bipolar as well as the migraines most likely have/had a family member with migraines.

I don’t know about you, but I found this to be quite fascinating! It certainly helps me to understand where my migraine headaches most l
likely come from.

Another interesting fact is serotonin. Low levels of serotonin both are a major factor in both migraines and bipolar disorder. Such low levels can cause the same types of triggers such as stress, anxiety, problems with eating and more importantly problems with sleeping.

The good news is quite a few of the medications used as mood stabilizers in treating bipolar disorder also help control migraines.
Depakote, lamictal, topomax and trileptal have all shown the ability to lessen the frequency of migraines and some have shown the ability to help prevent migraines altogether.

Unfortunately this does not work for everyone who has bipolar disorder and migraines. But for most it does work. For those that it doesn’t work for, they will need to take a migraine medication and they are improving all the time.

So as I so adamantly stated before, yes there is a direct correlation between migraines and bipolar disorder.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!