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New survey illuminates and quantifies stigma and challenges facing migraine sufferers

10/ 13

ARTICLE DETAILS

AUTHOR: GHLF Staff

DATE: Oct 13, 2017

TAGS: migraine, Migraines,

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Name : Jessica Daitch
Phone: 917-816-6712
Email: jdaitch@ghlf.org

New survey illuminates and quantifies stigma and challenges facing migraine sufferers

Woman with hand on temple with head pain

The causes of migraines are little understood, although genetics and environmental factors play a role, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches,” the clinic recommends. “Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.”

In a survey of 1,003 adults conducted by Research!America and Zogby Analytics, 75 percent of those who suffer from migraines and 64 percent of those who do not said that migraines affect quality of life. About the same number of migraine sufferers (76 percent) and 58 percent of those who do not suffer from migraines thought employers ought to make reasonable accomodations for employees who suffer from migraines.

And perhaps more shockingly, 45 percent of those who suffer from migraines said they know of someone who has either left a job or reduced his or her hours due to their migraines. And, despite “studies” suggesting to the contrary, chronic migraine sufferers are often stigmatized and doubted when they report how much they are suffering.

“This is exactly why many don’t seek treatment and don’t share what they going through,” writes Advocacy Joe. “They are afraid they will be judged as weak, whiny, or ‘exaggerating.’”

Among the notable findings of the Research!America survey were:

  • Nearly 80 percent of migraine sufferers and 64 percent of non-sufferers said insurers should cover migraine prevention or alternative treatments.
  • While just 31 percent of non-sufferers thought that migraine sufferers are stigmatized, a majority (53 percent) of sufferers think people with the disease are stigmatized.
  • Both agreed that stigma tends to take the form of thinking sufferers are just overreacting to a headache (58 percent of sufferers, and 55 percent of non-sufferers).

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