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Migraine Sufferers Face Significant Stigma: Study

Equal to that for epilepsy, panic disorder, researchers say, with impact of the disability discounted

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"This is a very common problem," said Berliner, who was not involved in the study.

"If you don't have migraines yourself, you may have a hard time understanding just how severe the headaches can be," Berliner explained.

Many people experience non-migraine headaches, he said, and don't consider them disabling. They may pop a pill and feel better, not missing any work. But migraines are different, he said.

Shapiro agreed. Those who haven't had a migraine often have the attitude that those with disabling migraines are simply not managing a problem that nearly everyone has, he said.

Migraines are also typically very unpredictable, Berliner added. "It makes it hard for a migraine sufferer to make plans and keep them," he said. "Some people may interpret that as flakiness or lack of consideration."

To combat that attitude at work, Berliner said, an employee with migraine might have a conversation with his boss, communicating that "It's not my intention to take away your productivity."

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