About 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines, and more than 4 million experience chronic migraine on a daily migraines. Unfortunately, even with these shocking numbers, there’s still a lot of stigma associated with the condition.
What a lot of people still can’t seem to understand is that migraines are much more than just headaches. They affect every aspect of a person’s life, whether personal or professional. According to the World Health Organization, migraines are among the top 10 disabling lifetime conditions.
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However, because of the stigma surrounding migraines, a lot of patients feel guilty or even ashamed to admit they even have the condition. This only serves to worsen the situation. As a result, a lot of migraine sufferers suffer depression, and some even go to the extent of suicide. Jaime Sander shares her story:
Migraine and Suicide: Clearly, It’s Not Just a Headache
On the two occasions when I attempted suicide, I remember feeling: everyone else would be better off without me in their life.
I was traumatized, exhausted and depressed from unrelenting emotional and physical pain. I just wanted it to end. Those were very difficult times and Migraine was a big part of them. The guilt tore at my conscience every minute of the day. It took a lot of counseling and being on an antidepressant to help get me back on track. Read full post at Migraine Again…
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A person’s ability to keep a job and have a career may be severely hampered by this condition. Unfortunately, because of the negative view with which migraine sufferers are held, they cannot get the time of day when in need of support from their employers or colleagues. Tammy Rome asks a valid question:
Why isn’t migraine a legitimate reason to miss work?
I’d love to ask this question of every employer I can find. Too many of us have been treated as though we are lying about, faking, or exaggerating our symptoms in order to avoid work or other obligations. Unless you experience the stroke-like symptoms of hemiplegic migraine, no one else can actually confirm that your symptoms are real. I’ve even heard of health care providers who accuse hemiplegic migraineurs of faking it!
What is up with this complete lack of empathy for the 8th leading cause of disability in the world? What did we ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? Part of the problem is the societal view of migraine as “just a headache”. No one thinks of head pain as a serious problem unless there is proof of a tumor, stroke, aneurysm, or concussion. In the absence of these, the typical response is, “Oh, you’re just fine.”
You and I both know that we are anything but fine. Read full post at Migraine.com…
It’s also worth nothing that while migraine disproportionately affects women, this does not mean that men who suffer from migraines suffer less than women. The number of men that suffer from migraines as adults is about a third of the number of women. As a result, the condition is generally considered a woman’s disease, leaving a lot of men without the support they desperately need.
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Migraine Stigma May Prevent Proper Diagnosis and Treatment in Men
SAN DIEGO, CA (June 9, 2016) – While migraine is the most common neurological disorder in both men and women, the view that migraine is a women’s disease can cause men to be under diagnosed and under treated, according to a new study presented this week at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society.
The Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) Study longitudinally explored migraine epidemiology and associated comorbidities. To extend previous data on gender differences in migraine, this study focused on the determinants and burden of migraine in men and considered whether disease presentation, including sociodemographics, headache symptomology, disability, diagnosis, and treatment, differs in men and women. Read full article at American Headache Society
When it comes to diagnosis and treatment, more than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, and most of them do not even seek medical attention. This suggests that migraine awareness has a long way to go before it can be claimed that migraine sufferers are receiving the much needed help they deserve.