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Counselling for Migraines
A migraine is a moderate to severe headache that is accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound and lasts for between 2 and 72 hours. In addition, some sufferers report experiencing a disturbance to vision, hearing, speech and/or physical movement prior to the onset of a migraine. Migraines are classed as chronic if the sufferers experiencing symptoms for more than 15 days of the month. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men.
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Who is it for?
Are your migraines interfering with your ability to meet your responsibilities and commitments? Do you feel overwhelmed by the frequency and intensity of your migraines? Do you often feel an
xious and/or depressed? Do you feel that your current methods of managing your migraine are insufficient?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to one of more of the above questions you may benefits from some counselling for your migraines.
A Recent Testimonial
Chris - Richmond“I had a course of CBT Counselling with The British CBT & Counselling Service (Richmond) and although it didn’t provide me with the quick fix miracle solution I was hoping for, it has made my problems feel more manageable”.
How It Works?
To start with one of our Psychologists will meet with you to find out more about your migraines and how they impact on you and your life. To build a picture of the type of counselling that would be helpful your Psychologist will also ask you some more general questions about your health and wellbeing, relationships, current commitments and responsibilities.
Armed with the information from step 1 your Psychologist will then design an individualised counselling programme to help you to improve your symptoms and reduce impact you’re your migraines have on you. If appropriate this may include a review by one of our medical doctors.
The core part of counselling for migraines is to identify the emotional/psychological influences that may be triggering or exacerbating your migraines and the current coping responses that may be maintaining them. Examples of these include hopelessness about the future, underestimating your ability to cope, self-blame and criticism and catastrophic thinking. Your Psychologist will use a range of techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you to reduce these influences and replace them with thinking styles that promote calm, confidence and balance. There is a wealth of evidence supporting this approach in the management of migraines so it is very likely that you will quickly begin to experience some benefit.
Finally, your Psychologist will help you to identify and then eliminate the influences that have made you vulnerable to developing migraines to ensure that the results of your counselling are long lasting. This step may include working to resolve residual feelings of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem and confidence.
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All of our Psychologists offer Migraine counselling, click here to view the team.
What causes a Migraine?
To date the causes of migraines are unknown however some theories suggest that they may be due to over activity in the cortex or a disturbance in pain neurons in the brainstem.
Despite the lack of information on the cause of migraines there will be certain triggers to individual sufferer’s migraines that once identified can be avoided in order to reduce the frequency and/ or intensity of an episode. Some of these triggers include:
- Caffeine (inc. Chocolate)
- Citrus fruits
- Pickled foods
2. Hormonal changes
- Menstrual cycle
3. Sleep; either too much or too little
5. Strenuous exercise
- Heavy weather inc. Lightening
- Bright lights
- Computer screen
What is the treatment for Migraines?
The most effective treatment for migraines is a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies.
Pharmacological treatment for Migraines includes analgesics (for pain) and antiemetic (for nausea).
There are a range of nonpharmacological treatments available for migraines including acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy massage and relaxation however the evidence supporting these treatments is limited. There is however a wealth of evidence supporting the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of migraines. A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme for migraines is based on the principles that anxiety, distress, self-blame, hopelessness and catastrophic thinking can exacerbate migraines. A CBT programme therefore aims to alleviate symptoms by identifying and modifying maladaptive responses to episodes in order to break self-maintaining cycles and reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
Should you wish to find out more about Migraines, please check out this article on our blog section.