Can migraines cause personality changes?

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WaterMinky
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/7/2005 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I just joined. I joined because my husband has been having migraines for a little over two years now, and his personality has changed a lot. His migraines started out as spells of severe dizziness and disorientation only -- no headache. I had always thought that a migraines was by definition, a headache. I didn't know you could have a migraine without having a headache. The headaches began about 6 months after the dizzy/disoriented spells started. Since September 2003, my husband has changed from patient, optimistic, playful, tender, and affectionate with a great sense of humor, and much joy in life and family, to impatient, very short-tempered, cranky, emotionally and physically remote, almost completely without humor, joy, and enjoyment of life and his loved ones. He has changed so much that much of the time our four children (ages 9-3) think Daddy doesn't like them anymore.
 
He won't take his migraine medicine because of the side effects (extremem sleepiness and sluggishness that make it almost as hard to function as the migraines themselves). He dislikes taking any medicine, and isn't crazy about going to the doctor either.
 
Any thoughts, perspective, suggestions at all that anyone may have would be most welcome. Thank youn for letting me unload.
-- WaterMinky

philski
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 12/7/2005 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   
In a word - yes. Its a neurological thing: for me I always get head pain but some of my other symptoms include the inability to put together coherant sentances easily and sucking at math (which sucks, being a mathematical person) Basically if it requires a lot of thinking my brain will trip up at it. Its different for everyone.

Encourage him to see a neurologist. I'm a father - my son is 7 months old. I used to just live with migraines. They would alter my personality to a point but I'm a grunt, I tend to just lower my head and plow through things. When that kid came around that was my motivation to actually try and get this stuff worked out. Try and talk it over with him, that's about all you can do. Try and find a neurologist that specializes in migraines.

And I understand about the side effects... the only abortive medication I've found that works for me (Inderal injections... the pill doesn't work) slows me down for the next 3-4 days. What daily med is he taking? I'm on Topamax and I really haven't had any side effects after the first month.

best of luck
-philski-

WaterMinky
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/8/2005 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Philski and Beth,

Thank you both so much! What exactly does a beta blocker do? Is Topamax a painkiller for when the headche starts, or is about to start? Is propananol a preventive?

My husband's daily medication is Amitriptyline, a generic for Elavil. According to the neurologist my husband saw two years ago (of whom neither of us thought much), this drug is an anti-depressant whose side effect is to prevent migraines. This doctor told me that there was no medicine whose primary function was to prevent migraines, and that all he could do was prescribe something whose main purpose was something else, but whose side effect was preventing migraines. This sounded really cock-eyed to me, and still does. At the time,we knew nothing and trusted the doctor; I guess we figured that was the best that could be done and we would have to live with it. This was also before I really started seeing how much this illness would affect not just his life, but all of our lives. I would just like him to be as pain free as possible, and see his happiness come back.
WaterMinky

philski
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 12/8/2005 12:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Its not as "cock-eyed" as you might think, migraines are still a mystery for the most part. Some of the common treatments are antidepressants, Topamax (which is used to fight seizures) , and blood pressure medications (which includes Beta Blockers like propranalol/Inderal)... depressions, seizures, and high blood pressure!

Propranolol is a beta blocker, the commercial name is Inderal, a blood pressure medication. In the migraine world both are used as a preventative medication: you take them daily.

I've used both, together and seperate. Topamax is working better for me. I was on Inderal at first because (a) high blood pressure runs in the family and the doc figured i should start early and (b) the doc was a school nurse and knew nothing about migraines, when I told her my dad had fewer migraines when he started taking blood pressure medication she put 2 and 2 together...

Try another neurologist. Try to get him to have regular visits. Again, what your doctor said is right - there is no magic pill for migraine, your best bet is finding someone you trust and scheduling regular appointments. If the treatment isnt working then you have to try something new. Until they figure out the root cause that's what it is. Sucks but its true.

-philski-

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/8/2005 11:24 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi WaterMinky,

I must concur with Philski and Beth, migraines make us ugly people. By nature I'm a friendly, outgoing, happy person. With migraines I'm a grumpy, depressed, frustrated person. It takes a toll on our marriages as well. I had half a mind to try and get my husband to write this message to you (but he's not the social one of the two of us tongue ).

My migraines started up again soon after I met my husband (13 years ago) and have worsened severely during the last 5 years. The worst has been the last year during which I was off work for 6 months on disability. I know now that we can make it through just about anything. 

As my headaches got worst we would fight a lot because we were angry and frustrated with the headaches. We've learned how to work together now and get mad at the headaches and fight them together. So now, instead of being angry at each other we're angry together at the headaches.

I get grumpy because I just can't wake up with another headache again. Or I don't want to go another day with a headache. I feel a lot of guilt because I miss a lot of things and have lost a lot of relationships with friends because I'm always sick. I don't make as much money because I can't do as difficult a job. I can't carry as much of the load at home and I often just want to lie in bed.

The thing that helped us was that I started seeing a psychologist that specialized in chronic pain. She taught me relaxation exercises, how to lighten up on myself and how to give my husband a break. My husband's not into counselling so he wouldn't go but that didn't mean I couldn't make changes that affected both of us.

Philski is absolutely right, try another neurologist. It may take many medications to find the one that works. Or another idea is push the current neurologist to try new things. It took a few visits for my neurologist to understand the severity of my migraines and my commitment to fixing the problem. Once he understood he was on the case and has been willing to try anything and everything. We've thrown everything against the wall to see what sticks.

Sorry this has been so long, I hope it helps. Good luck. Be patient. You and your husband will get through it.


Nicky
 
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
                 --Japanese proverb


tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 12/9/2005 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
"I had always thought that a migraines was by definition, a headache"
 
Boy did that rub me the wrong way, and that is not directed at you WaterMinky....that is just one of my "hot buttons" No, migraine is not by definition a headache. Migraine is a neurological disease and can consist of different symptoms which may or may not include head pain. There are different type of migraines including some that have stomach symptoms, neurological type symtoms that affect balance, vision and the abiltiy to walk and other are more focused on head pain.
 
I personally, have the type that always have head pain and generally have other associated symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound and different smells.
 
My personality is affected probably 85% of the time, I am more tired, I am irritable before and during a migraine, I am exhausted directly after an episode or attack-this may be due to the migraine itself and partly due to the medication I take to abort the attack. I can also be very emotional, when I feel a migraine coming on I try to rush and do everything I can to make it stop before it gets here with full force and I try to prepare myself and my household and job by doing whatever needs to be done in the event  that I am incapacitated for a few days, then I get very sad and whiny almost...and when I was in a relationship I wanted him to be around and take care of me and let me cry and be a brat (smile)
 
I think this affects everyone differently and it's good to understand where your migraineur is coming from and what they need when they aren't feeling well.
 
Hang in there and try to do what you can by learning what migraines are really all about and see what they really feel like to your husband.
 
Thanks for stopping in. post often and ask whatever questions you need to.
Sara
Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
 
Thanks for Visiting HealingWell.com


CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 12/9/2005 1:29 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey WaterMinky,

Welcome to the Boards!   I would say that the action of the day is to find a new doctor, preferably a neurologist.  Second would be a change in medication - a preventative to keep from getting that attack, and an abortive when he gets really cranky.

I would really blackmail him into this, poining out that his children aren't getting any younger, and he will never get these years back.  He doesn't want to be the old man whose children come to visit twice a year, and get the yearly school picture in the mail.  The more guilty you can make him feel, the more lilely he is to sign up for the  program.

Hope this helps,

Leigh Ann cool                         


"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/9/2005 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   

May I kindly add my two cents about guilt. I have so much guilt attached to my headaches / migraines that if someone added anymore it would send me over the edge causing me to withdraw rather than force me to do something.

I find that empathy and working together as partners is much more effective whenever possible. If your husband will let you be part of his treatment, visits to the doctors and research and education he may find your strength helpful in coping.

Just my perspective. :-)


Nicky
 
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
                 --Japanese proverb


catgirl4
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/11/2005 6:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone!
My name is Karen, I'm new here-but not to the world of migraines. In fact I thought I had ha every type of migraine imaginable until this morning. This morning, the pain woke me up (not unusual, has happened before), however the pain was allover, from my neck up. Again this is not that unusual at least when the migraine wakes me up because I feel I must tense up in my sleep from the pain. But after I was up for about 10 min. my neck felt okay, but the migraine was in my temples, across the top and front of my head. Then I was violently ill-threw up, and some of the pain eased up. This is so NOT my typical migraine. Mine are always in/above one or both eyes, and can start or include my ear. Has anyone else had a migraine like this? Or suddenly had a different kind of headache? OMG I thought for a little while ther I was having a stroke!! I also usually do not throw up with my migraines-once in a blue moon. This will sound strange, but I'm phobic about vomiting so I (i know, i know lol) always have something for nausea & vomiting. Can anyone share any info about the different types of migraines with me?
Thanks :) Karen

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/11/2005 10:57 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Karen,

Welcome to the forum.

I have to apologize, but your message made me smile. It's not funny as I laid in bed all day with a migraine. But it made me smile because I know exactly what you mean about vomitting. Your description of your migraine today describes mine to a tee and I will also do anything to avoid vomitting, though usually feel a little better afterwards.

I share you aversion to throwing up and the only thing worse than throwing up is waking up to throw up. So hopefully your pain has subsided enough to share my smile.

If not, I'm sorry to hear about your terrible headache this morning. As I said. I get these types of headaches quite regularly. I take Gravol (in Canada) Dramamine (in the US) with whatever medication I take to stop the vomitting. I have become quite adept over the years at not getting sick. Cold is a good way - a cold pack, open a window, an ice pack, throw off all the covers. I don't let anyone get on or near the bed and I don't eat anything if I'm feeling that way. I drink water or herbal tea if I need something and lie very still.

If this is very unusual for you I would go to the doctor to check it's nothing more serious. It's always a good idea to get a headache checked out when it changes from your normal pattern.
 
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
Nicky
 
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
                 --Japanese proverb


tysmyboo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 12/17/2005 10:04 AM (GMT -6)   
YOU TWO ARE FUNNY!!!
 
I am just the opposite, I could borderline on an eating disorder the way I throw up!!!! (just joking) I know that if I go ahead and vomit I can feel better and lay down, hopefully sleep and then all will be much better.
 
My mom and I just had this conversation the other day, I ate too much (after about two weeks of a drastic reduction in the amount of food I was eating) and I looked at her on the way home from a pizza joint and said..."stop the car, I want to vomit" she laughed and said that she has never heard anyone say they WANT to throw up...but at that moment (and many others) I knew that if I went ahead and got that ugly part out of the way I would feel so much better.
Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
 
Thanks for Visiting HealingWell.com


tymaboy
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 12/17/2005 11:41 AM (GMT -6)   
WaterMinky- when you talk to you husband about going back to a Dr for new meds. explain to him that no matter whet meds are prescribe there will be side effects. They will not be fun, but within time they will subside so he will be able to get back to his old self again (or as close as possible) That way he can play with his children again & enjoy his life with you again. As you can tell from reading this board people can give you names of different meds that he may want to ask about that seem to work well for different people. & you can see what some of the side effects are here on this board for him, or just do some web surfing to compare them.

Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 12/24/2005 12:50 AM (GMT -6)   

Sara - that's gross tongue

Tymaboy - Well said!


Nicky
 
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
                 --Japanese proverb


WaterMinky
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/27/2005 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Everybody,

Thank you all so much for all your information and support. 

I was talking to my mother-in-law today,and she said that she has been taking Depakote for migraines/seizures since 1996. I was wondering if anyone knows, or has an opinion about this: is it at all likely that family members would find the same medicine effective for their migraines? I mean, are the migraines of blood relatives likely to spring from the same cause, and therefore would respond to the same medication?

I also wonder if Depakote would be effective for my husband because, two years ago, when the migraines had recently started and he was admitted to the hospital for a week of observation, he was found to be having some seizures --though difficult to detect -- he had to be monitored constantly for days before any seizures were picked up.

Sorry for the long post. Take care, all.

- WaterMinky

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