Migraine Carries Stigma

LOS ANGELES, June 24 (UPI) — The stigma of migraine is significant, and worse for chronic sufferers, U.S. researchers say.

Study leader Dr. Jung Park of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and colleagues found those with chronic migraine — who experience headache more than half the month — experienced stigmatizing effects significantly greater than those for episodic migraine, headache with a return of pre-headache neurologic function.

The stigma of chronic migraine was close to that of stroke, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

“We were surprised not only by the degree of stigmatization experienced by the individuals with migraine, but also by how little we could explain by disability and quality of life,” Park says in a statement.

She notes it has already been determined having a highly stigmatizing disease can result in depression, anxiety and disruption of social relationships.

Park and colleagues surveyed 123 outpatients with chronic migraine and 123 with episodic migraine ages 18-65, using the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness — a recently developed 24-item instrument that allows for the quantitative assessment of stigma and comparisons across disorders.

The findings were presented at the American Headache Society’s 52nd annual scientific meeting in Los Angeles.

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