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Kids with Migraines: Their Mental Health is Fine

In a study by Bruijn, et al. (2010), it was found that compared to healthy children, children with migraines:

* do not exhibit more withdrawn behavior
* do not have more thought problems
* do not have more social problems
* do not exhibit more delinquent or aggressive behavior
* are not more frequently diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
* are not more frequently diagnosed with conduct disorder
* are not more frequently diagnosed with dysthymia or depression


It was also found that children with migraines have more somatic complaints and show more internalizing behaviors than children without migraines. However, the researchers felt those behaviors were a consequence having migraines – not a sign of psychopathology.

There was some limited evidence that in a clinical setting, children with migraines are more frequently diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder than children without migraines. There could be a couple of reasons for this:

1. In a clinical setting, people are more likely to have mental health issues, because it’s…a clinic. Therefore, you will naturally have more diagnoses than in a non-clinical setting.
2. If I had migraines, I’d be pretty crabby and oppositional too! And I was already crabby and oppositional anyway, migraines would kick me into the way crabby and oppositional category.

About the Author:

Dr. Stephanie Sarkis is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and AMHCA Diplomate and Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Counseling based in Tampa Bay, Florida, where she specializes in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Dr. Sarkis conducts evaluations, testing, diagnosis, and counseling services. She also is a public speaker, consultant, coach, and is a facilitator in collaborative law.

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