Migraine: Pain Is So Severe, "I've Wished I Were Dead." (Special Newsletter Edition: Your Health)

USA TODAY, October 1994 | Go to article overview
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Migraine: Pain Is So Severe, "I've Wished I Were Dead." (Special Newsletter Edition: Your Health)


Although people who never have experienced a migraine mistakenly may perceive it as "just a bad headache," a survey of migraine sufferers reveals it is far more serious than that. Seventy percent of respondents afflicted with the condition believe that migraine brings their lives to a standstill.

The nationwide study of 1,007 migraine sufferers was conducted by The Gallup Organization for Cerenex Pharmaceuticals. It found that the pain of migraine is so excruciating that 35% of sufferers indicate that they have wished they were dead during an attack. In addition, a significant number rated migraine as being more painful than childbirth (19%), a broken bone (28%), arthritis (33%), athletic injuries (42%), and a bad burn (42%).

Ninety-three percent of migraine sufferers have used over-the-counter (OTC) or nonprescription pain relievers to treat their headache. Forty-nine percent of those who take OTC medications noted that these nonprescription pain relievers are not successful in alleviating the pain. A similar number admitted that they take more of these OTC pain relievers than recommended.

Approximately 57% said that migraine makes them feel "out of control," while 73% stated that their daily activities are limited or impaired, including leisure pursuits (49%), socializing (50%), and driving (45%).

While not a psychological disorder, migraine can have a psychological impact on the sufferer. Fifty-eight percent felt that it has reduced their ability to enjoy life; approximately half have feelings of anxiety (54%) and helplessness (48%); and 41% experience depression.

Migraine affects more than the sufferer. Seventy-two percent noted that it has hurt their ability to take care of family and personal responsibilities, and 64% believe it has a negative effect on family or others around them.

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