At the Diamond Headache Clinic, our multidisciplinary approach to treatment includes psychological and psychiatric elements. The roles of psychology and psychiatry in a headache condition are as important as any pharmaceutical or lifestyle factors within the diagnosis. Quite often, headaches are triggered or exacerbated by psychological or psychiatric factors. These factors may include simple life stresses such as work or family issues, or may involve complex biochemical scenarios like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
During your initial visit to the Diamond Headache Clinic, we perform an intake assessment, which is used to screen for major psychological disorders and evaluate life stresses. By identifying specific problems, we can determine what, if any, types of psychiatric or psychological therapy for migraine and headache are most likely to benefit your condition.
Psychological Therapy for Migraine and Headache
A patient’s coping mechanisms, stresses, health habits and substance abuse (including analgesic overuse) all affect his or her headache condition. During sessions with a trained professional, the patient discusses life problems, relationships, emotions, disturbing thoughts, experiences and more. The goal is to help the patient solve the problem or, if this is not possible, help him or her deal with the problem in a constructive way.
Psychologists and psychiatrists often see a particular problem in headache patients: a fear or anxiety related to the headache pain itself. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective in treating this negative reaction. Another issue that our patients may experience is emotional upset and abnormal behavior caused by the intense and frequent headache pain. Once the headache condition is brought under control, the patient’s personality returns to normal.
If you are admitted to the Diamond Headache Inpatient Unit at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, your clinic physician may order sessions with a licensed psychologist and/or psychiatrist who will evaluate your condition. Group sessions on the unit are also provided to instruct patients about coping skills and stress management. This type of therapy offers another non-drug alternative treatment that can help patients manage their headache condition.
Our team embraces a variety of therapeutic approaches, such as:
- Psychoanalytical, which encourages the verbalization of all thoughts
- Cognitive behavioral, which seeks to destruct negative emotions and dysfunctional behaviors
- Systemic, which focuses on an individual’s interactions in groups and families
Through these well-defined techniques, our psychiatrists and psychologists can improve your awareness of headache triggers and offer tools for diminishing the frequency and severity of those triggers.