Headaches, insomnia, and psychiatric problems.

A recent article in Current Treatment Options in Neurology discusses the relationship of headaches with insomnia and psychiatric problems. The article discusses how headaches are associated with a wide range of sleep disorders. Clinicians, in evaluating a patient with headaches, should inquire about sleep history and its relation to headache patterns. They state that “Patients who suffer from chronic migraine or tension-type headache may benefit from behavioral sleep modification.” Furthermore, persons with headaches may have associated psychiatric issues including depression or anxiety. They recommend that pharmacologic treatment addressing the psychiatric issue, such as treatment with hypnotics, anxiolytics, or sedating antidepressants be considered to help with insomnia and headache management. Furthermore, “assessment for depression and anxiety may be warranted when either insomnia or hypersomnia is present. Psychiatric symptoms affect the choice of sedating versus alerting versus neutral pharmacologic agents for headache.”

At PCH Treatment Center, we understand the interrelation of sleep disorders with psychological problems and somatic symptoms such as headache. We are fortunate to have a world class insomnia expert, Dr. Sarosh Motivala on our staff, who works with Clients to help them optimize their sleep habits. Healing and recovery from a psychological problem is more effective and rapid when a person is in an optimal health state, which consists of avoidance of alcohol and drugs, proper sleep habits, and a healthy diet and exercise.

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2010 Jan;12(1):1-15.
Sleep and Headache.
Rains JC, Poceta JS.
Center for Sleep Evaluation, Elliot Hospital, One Elliot Way, Manchester, NH, 03103, USA, jrains@elliot-hs.org.

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