Migraine, psychiatric disorders, and suicide attempts: an epidemiologic study of young adults

Psychiatry Res. 1991 Apr;37(1):11-23. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(91)90102-u.


To determine the prevalence of migraine and the risks for psychiatric disorders and suicide attempts associated with it, we studied a random sample of 1,007 young adults from a large Health Maintenance Organization in the Detroit, MI area. The lifetime prevalence of migraine was 7% in males and 16.3% in females. The rate of migraine was higher in persons with lower education and was equal in whites and blacks. Persons with migraine were at increased risk for affective and anxiety disorders, nicotine dependence, and alcohol or illicit drug abuse or dependence. There was a consistent trend toward higher psychiatric comorbidity in migraine with aura than in migraine without aura. Coexisting anxiety, which generally preceded migraine, was associated with a marked increase in the odds of major depression. Persons with migraine had higher rates of suicide attempts than persons without migraine. The odds ratio for suicide attempts, adjusted for coexisting major depression and other psychiatric and substance use disorders, in migraine with aura was 3.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-6.6). The coexistence of migraine with major depression, anxiety disorders, and suicide attempts has important clinical and research implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Environment
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*