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Depression and Other Mental Disorders are Linked to Chronic Daily Headaches

By HERWriter
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In my previous article, I talked about anxiety disorders and stress and how they can lead to tension and migraine headaches.

I also talked about depression as a cause of headaches, but only briefly.

Daily, chronic tension headaches are seen in many patients with depression, according to the National Headache Foundation (NHF).

There seem to be certain characteristics of a depressive headache, like when it happens during certain times of the day (morning and evening are worse) and during stressful periods.

The NHF also said that “this headache consists of a steady, nonpulsatile ache, often distributed in a band-like pattern around the head.”

Some ways to treat a tension headache related to depression are antidepressants and biofeedback.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, biofeedback is when patients learn to control certain aspects of their body processes, like heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.

People with depression can also suffer migraines, according to the NHF.

Both tension and migraine headaches might be linked to the chemical aspect of depression and also might be caused by something other than depression.

Traditional headache medicine might still help those with mental disorders like depression and anxiety, though, according to one article.

The medications didn’t significantly reduce headaches, and behavioral and stress management therapies were considered for future treatments along with the medications.

In one study on chronic daily headaches and psychiatric disorders, it was found that “a psychiatric disorder was found in 50 percent of chronic tension-type headache patients, in 72.2 percent of those with chronic coexisting migraine and tension-type headache and in 70.3 percent of patients with chronic migraine.”

Another mental disorder has been associated with chronic headaches: borderline personality disorder.

According to one study, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy can be effective treatments for borderline personality disorder.

The study found that “severe headaches and migraine appear to be more prevalent in patients with BPD than the general population.” However, headaches can be managed over long-term treatment.

Besides mental disorders, some medication is known to cause headaches, so that is another aspect to consider. According to an MSN article, here are some common causes of headaches: “birth control pills, caffeine or caffeine withdrawal, cold medicines, ergotamine therapy, heart and blood pressure medication, hormone therapy and overuse of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin D.”

Some foods can also cause migraines, according to the NHF. Click here for a list.

Basically, you need to be aware of anything that can cause a headache. Mental disorders, stress, medical issues, diet and medication.


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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