Headaches are a type of throbbing, sharp and uncomfortable pain in different regions of your head. It is said that up to 90% of adults experience massive tension headaches. But when headaches are linked with depression, there might be some chronic issues. Depression causes headaches along with other severe pains in the body.
Research shows us that there is a strong link between tension headaches and mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. As per recent studies, it has been found out that about 13% of the people suffering from mental disorders also had migraine attacks which include bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety disorder. Recognizing the main symptoms and causes of depression headache can often lead to more valuable and effective treatment and preventive measures.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION HEADACHE
Headaches are the leading cause of pain in your head. The intensity of the pain usually depends on the type of headache you are suffering. It includes one or more of the symptoms mentioned below: –
- Sharp Pain
- Ongoing Dull Ache
- Pain That Radiates More Than One Area
This occurs in the middle of your head, and at times is accompanied by a pain in your neck. They often tend to develop gradually, and they occur from muscle contractions around the neck and scalp area. This is a type of secondary headache leading to depressive symptoms.
In this type of headache, you are likely to experience pain around your cheeks, nose, and forehead where your sinuses are initially located. They are not frequently associated with any depression but can lead to frequent sinus headaches that can decrease your life span.
Migraine attacks take place suddenly. Unlike the other types of headaches, you can experience this attack for several hours or even days. A migraine attack can also make you:
- Nauseated, with or without any vomit
- Unable to work properly
- Being sensitive to light and sound
- Unable to sleep properly
Due to these reasons, migraine attacks often occur even before the depression.
Numerous reasons can lead to depression, such as:
- Immense physical pain
- Change in appetite
- Crying frequently
The above mentioned are some reasons that can lead to depression. Depression also leads to suicidal thoughts as well.
HOW TO TREAT DEPRESSION HEADACHE
Treating depression headaches can involve a lot of multipronged approaches and depends on the underlying causes as well. You will need treatment for both depression and headache symptoms.
Medications For Depression Migraine
There consists of certain prescribed medicines that can be used to treat both depression and migraine, including anxiety. Some of them include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and anxiolytics. Botox injections are another form of treatment available if prescribed drugs are not well tolerated.
Treatment For Tension Headache
It is like migraine medications and able to treat secondary headaches and other symptoms of depression as well. It includes tricyclic antidepressants and biofeedback.
SSRIs Used For Depression
SSRI or Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most common medications used for treating depression. This is the best treatment approach if your doctor determines that your headaches are secondary to depression.
Psychotherapy involves appointments with a mental health expert who will help you solve your problems and work through your behavior and thoughts as well. A psychotherapist doesn’t prescribe any medications as a psychiatrist does.
This therapy is widely used for treating depression and anxiety disorders and helps people to modify their thoughts and behavior. If you are suffering from chronic depression, headache, or anxiety, then psychotherapy will help you alleviate these symptoms.
OTC Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter medications temporarily ease the pain of a severe headache. Medications such as Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are some of the classics, whereas migraine-specific medications such as Excedrin migraine include caffeine, aspirin, and Acetaminophen. The main issue regarding OTC pain relievers is that they only mask the underlying causes of depression headaches.
HOW WILL YOU PREVENT DEPRESSION HEADACHES?
Apart from consuming prescribed medication, your lifestyle habits play a major role as well while treating the underlying depression which is leading you to your headaches: –
- Balanced Diet–If you have a balanced and healthy diet that includes homemade meals and non-processed foods, it will fuel your brain and overall mood and give you energy.
- Daily Exercise – It might be difficult for you to exercise and workout while having a headache. Regular workouts in between your severe headaches will help you pump oxygen throughout the body, decreasing the headache pain.
- Reducing Your Stress -You need to reduce your stress because stress and anxiety are the main reasons for depression headaches. So, make sure to manage your stress and be physically active to prevent depression.
- Other Complementary Treatments – This includes yoga, acupuncture, and massage that will help you prevent depression, anxiety, etc.
WHEN WILL YOU REQUIRE A DOCTOR?
You might have to visit a doctor if you have headaches daily. This will lead to depressive symptoms that might get worse. You must see a doctor if you have headaches 2 or more than 2 times a week.
If you are determining yourself that you need a doctor checkup, then here are some questions that you need to ask yourself before you go:
- Are the prescribed medications helping?
- Are your symptoms of depression and headache improving?
- Does your day end well without taking OTC pain medications?
- Are you able to perform daily task activities such as work, exercise, and so on?
If your answer is no to any of the questions mentioned above, you need to seek help from a doctor. Your primary care doctor will also give you some recommendations regarding clinical mental health professionals.
IN A NUTSHELL
Chronic headaches, at times, can lead to severe depression. However, headaches take place without depression. In both cases, depression and headache are treatable. Make sure to appoint a doctor for yourself if you are noticing symptoms of depression and severe headache. Your doctor will provide you with the best treatment required for you so that you can live your life normally and start feeling like before.