Researchers found that the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals with migraine was more than three times higher than that of those without migraine.
“It is imperative that health care professionals and the general public are aware of the association between migraine and suicide,” Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, professor and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work & Faculty of Medicine, and director, Institute for Life Course & Aging, University of Toronto, told Healio Psychiatry.
Fuller-Thomson and Gwyneth Hodgins, MSW, RSW, child and family therapist at SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health in Toronto, conducted an analysis of the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (CCHS-MH) to examine the gender-specific prevalence of suicide attempts among those with migraine and determine what factors were linked to suicide attempts. Of 21,744 respondents, 2,223 had migraine.
The researchers found that 30.5% of Canadians included in the analysis who had attempted suicide experienced migraine and that the prevalence of ever attempting suicide among those who had migraine was more than three times higher than for those who did not have migraine among both men (7.5% vs. 1.9%) and women (9.3% vs. 2.7; P < .001). In addition, the prevalence of suicide attempts was significantly higher among those with migraine than those without (8.7% vs. 2.3%).
“Almost one-third of Canadians who have attempted suicide are migraineurs. The association between migraine and suicide attempts remained even after adjusting for gender, income and education, history of mental illness and substance abuse and level of chronic pain,” Fuller-Thomson said. “Adults with migraine who have a history of depression, anxiety disorders or substance dependence, and those who are survivors of childhood abuse, are [also] more likely to attempt suicide.”
In fully adjusted analysis, the investigators found that migraineurs with a history of childhood physical abuse were at two-times higher risk for attempting suicide (OR = 2.67; 95% CI, 1.75-4.09) and those with history of childhood sexual abuse were at three-times higher risk (OR = 3.51; 95% CI, 2.37-5.22).
There was also an association between witnessing chronic parental domestic violence and suicide attempt (OR = 1.67; 95% CI, 1.02-2.74). In addition, migraineurs with moderate or severe chronic pain were at increased risk for suicide attempts compared to those with less severe pain (OR = 1.83; 95% CI, 1.25-2.66).
“The very high prevalence of suicide attempts among those with migraines underlines the importance of developing targeted interventions to reduce suicidality in this vulnerable population,” Fuller-Thomson told Healio Psychiatry. – by Savannah Demko
Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.