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Migraine Sufferers Stigmatized Because of Their Condition: Study
Date:1/17/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who suffer from frequent migraines are stigmatized in much the same way as people with epilepsy are, new research suggests.

"This study is providing evidence for what we all sort of knew was the case," said Dr. Noah Rosen, director of the Headache Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute at North Shore-LIJ Health System, in Manhasset, N.Y. He was not involved in the research.

Not only are migraine patients stigmatized, but so is the condition itself in terms of getting research money, Rosen noted. "It's not getting the recognition it really should, given the prevalence and disability associated with it," he said.

Migraine pain and symptoms affect 29.5 million Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rosen believes that because migraine -- which causes a combination of severe headache, nausea, light sensitivity and other factors -- affects patients' work and social lives, the people around them stigmatize them as unreliable.

"Migraine is a disease morbidity, not mortality," Rosen said. "That's why it doesn't get the respect that it really requires."

Moreover, people who can't feel the pain a migraine sufferer is going through can't appreciate how debilitating it can be, Rosen added.

Rosen believes that family and coworkers of people with migraine need to be educated about the condition. In addition, workplaces may need to be altered to remove things that can trigger a migraine, he suggested.

These triggers include stress and poor environmental conditions, which can be changed to reduce the likelihood of setting off a migraine, Rosen explained.

In a statement from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's Headache Center in Philadelphia, study author and neurologist Dr. William Young, said: "I don't think people realize that it is not unusual for people wit
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