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Living with Migraines

A migraine is a moderate to severe headache that can be accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound and can last 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.

Migraines may be interfering with your ability to meet your responsibilities and commitments. You may be feeling overwhelmed by the frequency and intensity of your migraines. You may be feeling anxious and/or depressed, and that your current methods of managing your migraine are insufficient.

What is the treatment for migraines?

To start with yourPsychologists 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 therapy that would be helpful, your Psychologist will also ask you some more general questions about your health and wellbeing, relationships, current commitments and responsibilities. YourPsychologist will then design an individualised treatment approach to help you to improve your symptoms and reduce impact you’re your migraines have on you.

The core part of therapy 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, therapy 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 therapy 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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