Migraine Symptoms: Mood Changes

Written by Jessica Puterbaugh | May 24, 2022

Many people with migraine report mood changes before, during or after a migraine attack. Anxiety and depression are common in people with migraine, but other mood changes can also indicate that an attack is on its way. This rarely discussed symptom can greatly interfere with day-to-day life and be quite difficult to manage.

What do migraine-related mood changes feel like?

Like all migraine symptoms, mood changes vary from person to person and attack to attack. Some common ways they may present include:

  • Increased irritability
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Jitters
  • Increased energy
  • Restlessness, or feeling tired but wired
  • Giddiness

Most people experience mood changes in the prodrome stage, but they are also common in the postdrome stage as well. While migraine-related mood changes are common for both men and women, hormones fluctuations can intensify them for women.

Read our article on migraine and mental health and get in depth tips for managing this complex symptom. Keeping track of mood changes you experience may be able to help you better predict an attack. Listening to your body and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle can boost our moods and help us deal with this challenging symptom.

Some things to try include:

  • Getting some form of exercise
  • Eating regularly and not skipping meals to avoid blood sugar spikes
  • Enjoying time in nature
  • Doing something creative
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Resting and making sure you are getting good sleep
  • Calling a friend or family member
  • Practicing mindfulness/meditation
  • Watching a familiar movie or show
  • Doing something nice for yourself
  • Avoiding too much screen time

Sometimes, we can do all the right things and still not be able to make ourselves feel better. That can be an extremely frustrating feeling. It’s important to give ourselves grace during these times. Remind yourself that these feelings are temporary, and that it is okay to not feel okay. Remember that self-care is an important piece of any treatment plan. Be sure to discuss mood changes with your doctor, especially if you feel they are interfering with your life. There may be specific treatments your doctor can recommend to help you better manage this difficult symptom.

It is important to remember that migraine can also be comorbid with other more serious mental health conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar and other mood disorders. In addition, mood changes can be a sign of conditions such as thyroid disorders, sleep disorders, hormone imbalances, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, and multiple sclerosis to name a few, so be sure to mention them to your doctor.

We want to know! Do you experience migraine-related mood changes? What do you do when this symptom comes on? Does knowing that this can be part of the prodrome better help you prepare for and manage your migraine attacks?

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