Drinking and Smoking Linked to Migraines in High-School Students

Drinking and Smoking Linked to Migraines in High-School Students

A new study finds that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes were associated with migraines and tension headaches in high-school students. Coffee drinking and physical inactivity were also linked with migraines.

Astrid Milde-Busch, Ph.D. and colleagues at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, were the first to examine modifiable risk factors for different types of headaches among adolescents. Their study appears online in Headache, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell.

While modifiable risk factors such as alcohol consumption, coffee drinking, and cigarette smoking, have been associated with headaches in adults, they haven’t been thoroughly examined among youths. Previous studies have found that adolescents frequently complain of headaches: 5 to 15 percent of adolescents suffer from migraines, and 15 to 25 percent experience tension headaches.

The researchers surveyed 1,260 students from ages 14-20, asking them questions about headaches and lifestyle. If they said they had headaches during the last seven days, three months, or six months, they were classified as headache sufferers. They differentiated between migraine and tension headaches through reported symptoms, and they also asked about diet and lifestyle, including questions about coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol.

The results found that 83.1% had headaches at least during the last six months, with 10.2% suffering from migraine, 48.7% suffering tension headaches, and 19.8% with both migraine and tension headaches. As for diet, 28.4% of students never ate breakfast, 16.5% didn’t eat a daily snack, and only 24.0% had lunch daily. It was found that 22.3% drank less than 1 liter of non-alcoholic beverages per day. However, alcohol consumption was prevalent: 38.5%, 18.6%, and 25.3% drank beer, wine, and cocktails at least once per week (respectively). Of the students, 73.3% said they didn’t smoke and 43.4% students said they didn’t drink coffee.

The authors found a strong association between drinking alcohol and coffee, smoking, and lack of physical activity and migraines plus tension headaches. Those who drank caffeine and had little physical activity were far more likely to experience migraines.

The study suggests that adolescents who suffer from headaches could benefit from regular exercise and abstaining from alcohol. Teens who experience migraines should keep coffee drinking to a minimum.

Source: Science Daily, Alcohol Use and Smoking Are Associated with Headaches in High Schoolers, June 9, 2010. 

Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.

Call our experts today.