These days, it seems like everything can be directly linked to depression. However, it turns out that if you’re a female who suffers from migraine headaches, you may be 40 percent more likely to develop the signs of depression.
While this information is only in its preliminary stages, studies are being conducted to see if migraines and depression are truly linked. Researchers also want to know if there are biological links between the two conditions. For now, a group of researchers at CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering has developed tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation), a device that they claim can undo the brain changes that are caused by patients having chronic migraines. The researchers believe that using tDCS repeatedly can reduce the intensity of a person’s migraines by 37 percent. They think the device can be used every day as a means of preventing migraines, as well.
This device may be safer than taking migraine medications as well as antidepressants for depression such as Paxil or Effexor. The side effects linked to tDCS include a “mild tingling sensation.” Other treatments used for depression have been known to cause serious side effects, which can include violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior and birth defects (PPHN, cleft palate and heart, lung and brain defects) in babies whose mothers take the drugs while pregnant. Other than antidepressants, researchers are also looking into using deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a relief for depression.
For now, doctors still prefer prescribing antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor to treat depression, although the medications may not be worth taking when you consider the risks-to-benefits ratio. Other medications have been said to help prevent migraines, including epilepsy medications and beta blockers. If migraines turn out to be linked to depression, the combination of epilepsy medications and antidepressants could prove potentially deadly to the patients and more than a little harmful to their babies since both antidepressants and the most commonly used epilepsy drug (Topamax) is known to cause birth defects in babies exposed to the drug in-utero.