Migraine and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Britt Talley Daniel M.D.

7777 Forest Lane Suite B-220

972 566-4556

Dallas, Texas 75230

Approximately 40% of persons who have migraine will have stress or anxiety issues.  The most common medical diagnosis here is called generalized anxiety disorder which may be abbreviated as GAD.  Migraine and GAD are comorbid which means that they occur more likely statistically together than would be expected.  Migraine is said to be a genetic problem while anxiety is discussed as familial.

Many persons will say, instead of admitting anxiety, that they have “pressure or stress or worries” but all these are really about the same thing.  The DSM-IV is the large standard diagnostic text book from the American Psychiatric Association which lists psychiatric diagnoses and the check list below details how a doctor might diagnose GAD.

DSM-IV Criteria For the Diagnosis of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

The patient experiences excessive anxiety and worry

The anxiety is difficult to control

The anxiety is on several subjects

Symptoms occur for more days than not (or > 50% of the time) for the past six months

The patient experiences significant distress or social impairment (withdrawn, sees no one)

There may be at least three ancillary symptoms:

Ancillary Symptoms

Restlessness/mental tension (time pressure)


Poor concentration

Irritability (for intrapersonal relationships)

Muscle tension (tension in neck, shoulders, back, teeth clenching or grinding)

Sleep disturbance


Focus of anxiety/worry is not another disorder (for example, panic disorder)

Not part of a mood disorder, psychotic disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder

Not substance related

Not organic

DSM-IV= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition

BTD 10/30/09

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