This Is The Terrifying Effect Migraines Can Have On Your Mental Health
Today, 200,000 people in the UK will have a migraine. The symptoms and effects of migraines are widely misunderstood and underestimated, but a new documentary on the topic by BBC Newsbeat aims to inform people of the reality.
It's also groundbreaking in that it explores the other effects migraines have on sufferers. A new survey by the National Migraine Centre shows that 84 per cent of people who suffer with chronic migraines say that it's impacted their mental health, while 65 per cent link their condition to their experience with depression. All of the people interviewed for the documentary reported issues with their mental health, partly because of the time they have to spend alone and the hopelessness and unpredictability of the condition.
Tomorrow my first @BBCNewsbeat documentary "Migraines: More than a headache" is out on @BBCiPlayer
One in seven of us have experienced a #migraine but there's still no cure. I've been meeting those who suffer the most and finding out if there is hope. pic.twitter.com/Uxq5laL2hG
- Shiona McCallum (@shionamc) May 16, 2019
People with chronic migraines will often have to run their entire lives around the condition and the possibility of bringing on a migraine. One sufferer in the documentary, Nathan, reports having to quit his job as a classroom assistant and sign on to try and find less intensive work because his attacks are so severe and so frequent that he can't dedicate time to his work. He said: "I don't remember a time when I didn't have migraines. I was getting migraines so frequently and the intensity was so high that it wasn't fair on the school, the children I was working with and myself."
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Elaborating on his symptoms, he said: "When I have a migraine I can't see, any noise gives me excruciating pain, foreign smells hurt, light is a definite no-go, I get really dizzy and I can't stand up. I have tried so many types of medications - I've not found anything that can stop it or prevent it. At the moment I take aspirin and cola because of the caffeine and the sugar. I also use ice packs, as the cold really helps."
Newsbeat also spoke to Eimear, who had to give up work because of her migraines. She now works as a freelance writer, because: "It just came to the point where I realised I had to fit my working life around my migraines. They're just so unpredictable that I need this flexibility now to get up and decide how much I can do on any given day." She described the pain as "the worst hangover you've ever had, times ten."
All of the sufferers reference the fact that stress and working in stressful environments often brings on an attack, and have had to adapt their lifestyle to suit their condition. There is no real cure for migraines, but a new drug Aimovig, which is injected, could reduce the frequency of migraine attacks significantly.
The drug isn't currently available on the US, but it could provide hope to sufferers in the UK.
Migraine: More Than Just a Headache is available on iPlayer now.
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash