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The Anxiety Headache

Panic. Fear. Uneasiness. Trouble sleeping. Tension. Dizziness. Nightmares. Uncontrollable thoughts. Shortness of breath.

These symptoms of anxiety can often be found among headache sufferers. Over the years, a lot of research has documented people who experience both anxiety and headache disorders. In fact, men with a history of panic disorder have approximately 7 times higher risk of having migraine, according to research published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Headache (the risk for women was lower).1 On the flip side, people with migraine have an increased rate of anxiety and panic disorders. The relationship is bidirectional—migraine can cause anxiety, anxiety can cause migraine.

This relationship is also true of tension-type headache, which may be triggered for a number of reasons. Sometimes the anxiety can even be caused by a fear of having headache. But anxiety could also come about for a number of other reasons, from mental fatigue and depression to worry and stress.

To lower anxiety and thereby reduce the number of headaches triggered by anxiety, consider stress-reducing and relaxation techniques such as psychotherapy, biofeedback, behavioral modification and the use of antidepressant drugs under the watchful eye of a physician.

Head Wise offers these additional tips for reducing anxiety related to the fear of having headache.

Do you experience anxiety and headache? How do you manage this comorbidity?



1. Headache.

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