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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
March 31, 2012

People with Severe Headaches Are More Likely to Commit Suicide

Research shows that migraines and headaches are factors that increase suicide rate. By Jennifer Chan

Whether it’s a migraine or a severe headache, the consequences of enduring the pain can be fatal. According to a study published in the journal Headache, people with severe headaches also have a high suicide rate

Following 1,200 adults living in the Detroit area in the US, researchers aimed to find out just how strong the link between headaches and suicidal tendencies was. Around 500 participants reportedly suffered from migraines while 151 had serious headaches (defined as having an intense headache for more than four hours). Over the next two years, researchers learned that 9 percent of the participants who dealt with migraines and 10 percent of those who suffered from non-migraine headaches had attempted suicide. 

Depression, according to researchers, may have played a part in the situation, but it isn’t a defining factor. Considering other players like anxiety and past suicide attempts, migraines and severe headaches still have the lead. The answer could be found in brain chemicals like serotonin, which are said to be involved in headaches. Dysfunction in these chemicals might ultimately be responsible for the higher suicide risk. If you suffer from migraines or severe headaches, a trip to the doctor wouldn’t hurt. 


(Photo by rachel a. k. via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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