Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 224-229

First online:

Anxiety disorders and migraine intractability and progression

  • Todd A. SmithermanAffiliated withHead Pain Center, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center Email author 
  • , Donald B. Penzien
  • , Morris Maizels

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Comorbid psychopathology has been implicated as a risk factor for the chronification and progression of migraine. Although past research has focused principally on depression and migraine, recent research consistently has confirmed that a disproportionate number of migraineurs suffer from one or more comorbid anxiety disorders. Moreover, this research has implicated anxiety disorders as factors potentially associated with migraine intractability and progression; growing evidence suggests that anxiety disorders may be even more prognostically significant than depression. This article summarizes these recent developments, considers mechanisms underlying this comorbidity, discusses strategies for assessing and managing comorbid anxiety, and notes directions for future clinical and empiric work.