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Can Anxiety Cause Headaches?

Can Anxiety Cause Headaches?

Anxiety is tough enough to deal with sometimes without throwing a headache into the mix. Both conditions affect millions of men, women, and young people, but neither should control your life. If you’re suffering from either and the symptoms won’t go away, treatment options like ketamine may be helpful for the symptoms of your condition.

A Definition of Anxiety

Anxiety includes feelings of dread, fear, and uneasiness. It can make you sweat, become restless and tense, and experience a fast heartbeat. It’s a typical stress reaction. For example, you might be anxious when dealing with a difficult task at school, before making a presentation, or purchasing your first home. Activity and temporary energy bursts can help you cope, but the feelings of anxiety are intense, overwhelming, and last for months for many people.

What Is A Headache?

According to experts at the Cleveland Clinic, “Headaches are a widespread condition that most people will experience many times during their lives. The main symptom of a headache is a pain in your head or face. This can be throbbing, constant, sharp, or dull. Headaches can be treated with medication, stress management, and biofeedback.” 


The symptoms can often be treated with rest and relaxation, over-the-counter medicines, or ketamine.

What Is A Migraine?

Think of a migraine as a headache on steroids. They’re the second most widespread type of headache and may include debilitating symptoms like:


  • Moderate or serious pain
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Pummeling, throbbing pain
  • Pain that persists for four hours to several days
  • Sensitivity to noise, light, or smells
  • An upset stomach

What Causes Headaches or Migraines?

Stress and lack of sleep can result in headaches or migraines, but other causes may include:


  • Hormonal changes, particularly in women
  • Drinks (including too much alcohol), wine, or caffeine
  • Sensory overload, like bright or pulsating lights, loud or throbbing music, bright sunlight, strong smells
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical exertion
  • Weather changes, including barometric pressure
  • Certain medications
  • Foods, like salty or processed items or aged cheeses
  • The presence of food additives, like preservative monosodium glutamate

Causes of Anxiety

According to Michigan Medicine, “Often the cause of anxiety disorders is not known. Many people with an anxiety disorder say they have felt nervous and anxious all their lives. This problem can occur at any age.” 


Other causes include genetics – having a blood relative with mental illness – and environmental factors.

Can Anxiety Cause Headaches?

Based on research, a headache or migraine can be perceived as a physical result of anxiety or another mental disorder. Anxiety can cause excessive worrying, irritability, and restlessness, often resulting from stress. If you’re stressed or constantly worrying about something – both are classic symptoms of anxiety – there’s a strong possibility, you’ll experience a subsequent headache. If the symptoms persist and become debilitating, you could end up with a migraine. Ketamine may reduce the pain.

Diagnosing Anxiety and Headaches

To properly diagnose anxiety, you’ll need to see a doctor for a physical checkup and maybe even a therapist for a mental health exam. You’ll be asked about symptoms, thoughts and feelings, and personal and family history of mental illness. Your doctor will then refer you to the DSM-5 for a final diagnosis.


Diagnosing a headache is pretty simple for most people. If you experience pain in your face or head accompanied by discomfort which is throbbing, constant, sharp, or dull, then you’re likely suffering from a headache. If the pain lasts and is debilitating, you may be experiencing a migraine.

Treatment for Anxiety and Headaches

Because we know that anxiety causes headaches, the best way to treat them is to reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms. The first step in treating anxiety is getting diagnosed. Once that’s done, you and your provider can talk about treatment options, like psychotherapy, medicine, lifestyle and dietary changes, and taking herbal or nutritional supplements.


Treating headaches follows a similar path, but a doctor might recommend store-bought or over-the-counter medicine, rest, or exercise in many cases. If treating the symptoms of anxiety and headaches fail and they become severe, your provider may recommend an alternative therapy like ketamine.


Ketamine is an anesthetic that research has proven effective in treating symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, and other conditions and, as a result, different kinds of headaches, including migraines

Final Thoughts

Anxiety is a serious mental health condition that can lead to painful and sometimes debilitating headaches. Neither of these should control your life, and their symptoms can be managed in several ways, including using ketamine infusion when another treatment has failed. 


Research into IV ketamine infusions for the treatment of anxiety is still ongoing. Still, the current understanding is that ketamine can bind to receptors in the brain and increase the amount of a neurotransmitter, glutamate. This will set off a chain of reactions in the brain and impact emotional regulation.


Simply put, ketamine allows the brain to trigger hormones that create more positive emotions. One added benefit of ketamine infusion is that relief can occur within minutes rather than the weeks or months an antidepressant or therapy may take.


Contact us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.

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