Bipolar and Migraines: The Research

Though most studies have found a connection between bipolar disorder and migraine headaches, there are some that have not.

Recently, the Croatian medical journal Psychiatria Danubina published the results of a study that sought to see if there was a connection between a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and migraine headaches.

This particular study examined whether this increased risk of migraine headaches among those with bipolar disorder was evident in the outpatient department of a regional psychiatric hospital.

Using a patient database the researchers screened the medical records of over 1,000, they found 169 patients that were screened for bipolar disorder, and 46 patients that self-reported migraine headaches.

After analyzing the data, the research team found only 8 cases of co-morbid migraine and bipolar disorder were revealed. Which is much lower than many other studies have reported.

However, the researchers noted that this could be due to a lack of written reporting in the patients’ files, regarding their experience with migraine headaches.

Therefore even with the results of this study and others like it, the general consensus remains that there is a connection between bipolar disorder and migraine headaches.

In fact, the Journal of Comprehensive Psychiatry published the results of a meta-analysis of documented research that looked at the connection between migraine headaches and bipolar disorder from January 2000 and July 2014.

What they found in going through these studies what that there were:

“High prevalence rates and a significant burden of bipolar disorder-migraine comorbidity were common findings.”

Not only did the researchers find that migraine headaches were common in people with bipolar disorder, but they also discovered that comorbid migraines with bipolar disorder happen more often in one particular demographic.


That’s right.

The study found that migraine headaches appeared to be more prevalent in women with bipolar disorder.

In fact, the point-prevalence rates are up to 77% for migraine headaches and up to 53% for migraine with aura.

In our next article, we will take a deeper look at the connection between bipolar disorder and migraines, and we will try and gain a better understanding of why more women experience migraine headaches than men.


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