Monday, July 1, 2013
Migraine Sufferers Face Significant Stigma, Study Finds
Posted by Neill Abayon
Equal to that for epilepsy, panic disorder, researchers say, with impact of the disability discounted
Those who get migraines have to deal not only with the pain, which can be disabling, but the stigma caused by others who tend to discount the impact of the debilitating headaches, a new study shows.
"We were able to validate that people who have migraine are not mistaken that they feel they are stigmatized," said lead researcher Dr. Robert Shapiro, a professor of neurological sciences at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. "We have found those perceptions are well-grounded, and that the stigma that people with migraine experience is of a similar magnitude to the stigma people with epilepsy and panic attack experience," he noted.
"The general attitude is that migraine is not a serious or valid condition," he said. In the study, those with asthma experienced the least amount of stigma of the four conditions studied. Epilepsy patients can experience unpredictable seizures and the condition is known to carry a stigma. Panic attacks, where sufferers experience bouts of intense fear, are also unpredictable.
Shapiro is due to present the findings Sunday at the International Headache Congress in Boston.
About 29.5 million Americans are affected by migraine pain and symptoms, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Symptoms can include severe headache, light sensitivity and nausea. Those who are affected may need bed rest and may be unable to work while they are experiencing a migraine.