Understanding ADHD and Migraines


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and migraines are two separate conditions that can greatly impact the lives of those affected by them. However, recent research has shown that there may be a link between the two.

In this article, we will explore the connection between ADHD and migraines, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments for both conditions.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of adults and children worldwide. The condition is characterized by difficulties in paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, but it can also be diagnosed in adulthood. The exact causes of ADHD are unknown but are believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some of the common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty organizing tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness

What are migraines?

Migraines are a prevalent neurological disorder affecting approximately 39 million people in the United States. The condition is characterized by severe and recurring headaches, light and noise sensitivity, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Migraines can be triggered by various factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and certain foods or drinks.

Some of the common symptoms of migraines include:

  • Throbbing or pulsating headache
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Aura or visual disturbances
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

ADHD and Migraines

Recent studies have found a link between ADHD and migraines. According to research, individuals with ADHD are more likely to experience migraines, and those with migraines are more likely to have ADHD.

One study found that individuals with migraines were 2.4 times more likely to have ADHD. Another study found that children with ADHD were three times more likely to develop migraines as they grow older.

The exact reasons for this link are not yet clear. However, it is believed that the underlying mechanisms in the brain that cause ADHD may also contribute to the development of migraines.

Treatment Options

Both ADHD and migraines can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life. Therefore, it is essential to seek proper treatment to manage these conditions effectively.

Treatment for ADHD may involve a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Medications such as stimulants and non-stimulants can help manage ADHD symptoms, whereas behavioral therapy can teach coping strategies and improve social skills.

Treatment for migraines may involve medication to relieve pain, prevent migraines, or lessen the frequency and intensity of attacks. Other treatments such as relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes may also help manage migraines.


In conclusion, there is evidence to suggest that there is a link between ADHD and migraines. Although the exact reasons for this link are not yet clear, it is important to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for both conditions.

If you or someone you know is living with ADHD or migraines, seek help from a healthcare professional who can provide proper diagnosis and treatment. With proper care, it is possible to manage these conditions effectively and improve overall quality of life.


FAQs About ADHD and Migraines

1. Can ADHD medication help relieve migraines?

Yes, some ADHD medications like stimulants are known to help relieve migraines because they affect the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate pain and mood. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any ADHD medication for migraines, as they may have side effects.

2. Is there a relationship between ADHD and migraines?

Yes, studies have shown that people with ADHD are more likely to experience migraines compared to those without ADHD. This may be due to the underlying factors that cause both ADHD and migraines, such as genetics, brain chemistry, and lifestyle factors.

3. How can I manage both my ADHD and migraines?

Managing ADHD and migraines can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help. These include taking medication as prescribed by your doctor, adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, identifying migraine triggers, and seeking support from a healthcare professional. Integrative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, and meditation have also been found to be helpful.


1. Kuiper, E. A., Amiri, H., & Kok, R. M. (2019). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and migraine: a systematic review. European Journal of Pediatrics, 178(6), 879-891.

2. Chang, C.-H., Wu, Y.-H., Liu, M.-F., Chen, N.-C., Chen, Y.-T., Liao, H.-T., … & Tsai, M.-Y. (2019). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and migraine: Comorbidity and beyond. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 117, 9-16.

3. Keller, A., Gawron, V., Drexel, M., & Weber, P. (2019). Prevalence of migraine and ADHD in patients with chronic pain: A cross-sectional study. Journal of Pain Research, 12, 2737-2746.