Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Migraine


An excerpt from Psych Central, Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Migraine, written by Hope Gillette and medically reviewed by Marc S Lener, MD.

Does bipolar disorder cause migraine?

There’s no evidence that suggests bipolar disorder causes migraine, but the two conditions are commonly seen together.

Having both conditions often makes episodes of both more frequent. Migraine tends to develop after the onset of bipolar disorder.

As many as 29% of people living with bipolar disorder have experienced migraine. That’s a significant difference compared to 12%Trusted Source of the general population who have migraine.

The relationship between the two conditions seems to go both ways. In a 1990 studyTrusted Source, people with migraine were three times as likely to have a bipolar spectrum disorder.

Migraine is also associated with an earlier onsetTrusted Source of bipolar disorder and more severe and frequent depressive episodes.

A history of childhood abuse increases the likelihood of co-occurrence (comorbidity) of bipolar disorder and migraine, according to the same study.

Migraine is more common in women, as is the comorbidity of bipolar disorder and migraine.



How do you manage migraine when you have bipolar disorders?

The exact causes underlying bipolar disorder aren’t well understood. The same can be said about migraine.

This means treating them simultaneously can be challenging, and there are no current best-practice methods for comorbid treatment.

ResearchTrusted Source suggests a few overlapping treatment options work for both migraine attacks and bipolar disorder, including medications:

  • valproate
  • lithium
  • lamotrigine
  • quetiapine
  • topiramate

And therapies:

If you live with bipolar disorder and experience a migraine attack, there are ways you may be able to manage the headache without compromising your bipolar disorder treatment course.

When working on a treatment plan, medication interactions have to be taken into account, as well as the type of migraine you’re experiencing. You and your doctor can work together to closely monitor any side effects that medication for one condition is having on the other.”

Continue with the full article here.