Link between childhood emotional abuse and adult migraine risk

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Link between childhood emotional abuse and adult migraine risk

According to American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016, "children who are emotionally abused may experience migraines as young adults." The link between migraine and abuse was found to be stronger for emotional abuse than for physical or sexual abuse.

According to Gretchen Tietjen, MD, from the University of Toledo in Ohio and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, "Emotional abuse showed the strongest link to increased risk of migraine". "Childhood abuse can have long-lasting effects on health and well-being."

In the study, emotional abuse was evaluated by asking, "How often did a parent or other adult caregiver say things that really hurt your feelings or made you feel like you were not wanted or loved?"

Data was analyzed between an age of 24 to32 from 14484 people and migraines had been determined in 14% people. These people were interrogated if they had faced physical, emotional or sexual abuse in their childhood and 47% of them were found to be emotionally abused. Physical abuse included as being kicked, thrown down on the floor or into a wall, thrown down stairs or hit with a fist. Around 18% of participants were physically abused and about 5% were sexually abused.

About 61 percent said they had been abused as a child and they were diagnosed with migraines. Moreover, 49% said that they were abused, even they were never experienced migraine. Of those who were abused were 55 percent and were more likely to experience migraine than those who were never abused after accounting for income, age, race and sex.

Those who were emotionally abused were 52 percent more likely to have migraine than those who were not abused. In contrast, those who were sexually or physically abused were not likely to have migraine than who were not abused.

The relationship between emotional abuse and migraine existed when researchers adjusted the results, taking depression and anxiety into account. People who were emotionally abused were 32% more likely to have migraine than who were not abused.

Tietjen noted that the study shows link between childhood emotional abuse, a very common occurrence, and migraine. "More research is needed to better understand this relationship between childhood abuse and migraine," said Tietjen. "This is also something doctors may want to consider when they treat people with migraine."

American Academy of Neurology

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