Stress is considered a factor provoking seizures in 3/4 of patients suffering from primary headaches. Stress factors affect not only the frequency, but also the severity of headaches. Stress can be an important factor in the development of new cases of headaches, for example, a stressful event at work leads to an increased risk of migraine debut by 26%.
The purpose of psychotherapeutic methods of treatment is to modify the body’s physiological responses to the effects of stressors. The following methods are effective:
• auto-training – changes in physiological reactions to stress;
• cognitive therapy – a change in ideas about stress;
• distraction – minimizing stress concentration.
For example, before an exam a student may develop a stress reaction: anxiety arises, heartbeat quickens, tension arises in the muscles of the neck and lower jaw, and diarrhea. Methods for dealing with stress in this situation include deep breathing and relaxation techniques that reduce the physiological response to stress.
A student can learn to correct anxiety and anxiety about the exam with positive thoughts (“I was well prepared for the exam. I know the material. I showed myself well in previous exams. The results of this exam will be only a part of all my grades”).
For several days before the exam, the student should alternate mental activity with physical activity: for example, ride a bike or walk instead of sitting in one place with friends who are also concerned about the exam.
Combating stress with the help of auto-training and restructuring of consciousness can significantly reduce the incidence of headaches and analgesics in patients with migraine, tension headache or mixed headaches.
Moreover, the use of psychotherapeutic methods in patients with headaches for 8 weeks was more effective in comparison with treatment with amitriptyline in a daily dose of 25-75 mg. Although higher doses of amitriptyline are characterized by high efficacy in a certain category of patients, the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic methods in this study was generally high.