A migraine headache creates a throbbing pain in your head and other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, nausea, or vomiting. People who have bipolar episodes can experience migraines more than people who do not have the disorder. It is essential to treat both bipolar disorder and migraine headaches to gain better control of your health.

Bipolar Disorder and Migraines

There is no exact reason why people with bipolar disorder develop migraines. It may be that certain aspects of brain chemistry are the same for migraines and bipolar disorder. In a recent study published by the National Headache Foundation, 412 subjects with bipolar disorder were observed, with 157 subjects in the healthy control group. The results showed that 31% of those with bipolar disorder experienced migraines compared to six percent in the control group. Men who had bipolar II were ten times more likely to experience a migraine. It has been speculated that serotonin — a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells and constricts blood vessels — plays a role in the development of migraines.

Lifestyle Factors

Bipolar disorder and migraines share common triggers like anxiety, stress, and sleep disruption. When you experience a migraine or bipolar episode, something may have changed in your environment that you cannot handle. Other environmental stressors can be new medications or a change in medication. If you have bipolar disorder and your migraines are getting worse, let your doctor know about any changes that have been made to your environment. Controlling these changes and other triggers can help you have better control over your migraines.

Managing Bipolar and Migraines

Both bipolar disorder and migraines can be treated with medication, and some medications treat both simultaneously. Psychotherapy, exercise, no alcohol, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule to prevent migraines can also help treat both. Some of the common triggers of migraines are anxiety, tension, and stress which also come with mania and depression. Speak to a therapist if your mood changes are unstable due to your environmental stressors to ensure you can get proper treatment. Getting your mood under control, as well as continuing to take medications, can help control your migraines.

Bipolar disorder can lead to unpredictable mood changes, which can develop into a migraine. Migraines can come from a change in your lifestyle or environmental stressors. Seeking therapy to speak about your migraine triggers and taking the proper medication will give you control over your bipolar disorder and migraines.

At Alta Loma, we understand how painful it is to tackle the challenges that come from bipolar disorder and migraines. We have the tools to help you succeed, such as individualized therapy, medication management, coping skills education, and more. Call (866) 457-3843 for more information.