Migraine headaches and suicide attempt

Naomi Breslau, Lonni Schultz, Richard Lipton, Edward Peterson, K. M.A. Welch

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41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background.- Previous cross-sectional studies reported an increased risk of suicide attempt in persons with migraine headache, which was sustained when psychiatric comorbidity was statistically controlled. Objective.- To estimate the risk of suicide attempt in persons with migraine vs controls with no history of severe headache, using prospective data and validated diagnostic assessment. To examine the specificity of the migraine-suicide attempt risk by comparing it to the risk associated with non-migraine headache of comparable severity and disability. Methods.- A cohort of persons with migraine (n = 496), non-migraine severe headaches (n = 151), and controls with no history of severe headache (n = 539) was randomly selected from the general community, assessed in 1997 and reassessed 2 years later. Results.- Persons with migraine had an increased risk of suicide attempt during the 2-year follow-up period, compared with controls. Odds ratio, adjusted for sex, psychiatric disorder, and previous history of suicide attempt at baseline was 4.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.93, 10.2). Persons with non-migraine headache of comparable intensity and disability also had an increased risk of suicide attempt, compared to controls: odds ratio, adjusted for the same covariates, was 6.20 (95% CI 2.40, 16.0). The difference between the 2 estimates was not significant. In the entire sample, headache severity at baseline predicted suicide attempt: a difference of 1 standard deviation (SD) in pain score increased the risk of suicide attempt by 79%, adjusting for sex and psychiatric disorders. Conclusions.- The results suggest the possibility that pain severity might account in part for the increased risk of suicide attempt associated with migraine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-731
Number of pages9
JournalHeadache
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

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Keywords

  • cohort study
  • migraine
  • suicide attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Breslau, N., Schultz, L., Lipton, R., Peterson, E., & Welch, K. M. A. (2012). Migraine headaches and suicide attempt. Headache, 52(5), 723-731. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02117.x