How do I Treat Anxiety Headaches?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff
An ice pack, which can help with an anxiety headache.
An ice pack, which can help with an anxiety headache.

There are a few basic treatments associated with relieving anxiety headaches. The most forthright approach is considered to be identifying the cause of the underlying anxiety and dealing with it directly. Other techniques include relaxation therapy, scalp or temple massage, and medications. Medications can be physician-prescribed or herbal remedies.

Frequent anxiety headaches could signal an underlying health problem, so it's important to consult a physician.
Frequent anxiety headaches could signal an underlying health problem, so it's important to consult a physician.

More than 3% of the world population is believed to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. Getting to the underlying cause of anxiety is sometimes difficult. Unlike true fear, which is a result of actual imminent danger, anxiety is often more general and sometimes based on imagined rather than real threats. If the actual cause of anxiety can be pinpointed, sufferers usually have a better chance of treating or eliminating the symptoms.

Anxiety headaches could be caused by stress created by anxiety.
Anxiety headaches could be caused by stress created by anxiety.

Stress created by anxiety could be one of the primary causes of anxiety headaches, so many people may be able to reduce the severity of the headaches by dealing with the stress. Magnesium and calcium are both believed to promote relaxation and are sometimes used as a treatment for anxiety headaches. The minerals can be taken as dietary supplements or added directly to the diet by eating calcium-magnesium rich foods, such as dark green vegetables. Application of peppermint or lavender oil to the head or scalp may also have a calming effect. Some homeopathic practitioners even recommend adding the oils to bathwater as a way to relieve stress.

More than three percent of the world's population is believed to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder.
More than three percent of the world's population is believed to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder.

Natural remedies that deal directly with the pain could work as a short-term treatment for anxiety headaches. Taking a nap or even a short rest in a darkened room may lessen the severity and pain. Extreme heat or cold can sometimes be effective, such as an ice pack or heat pad applied directly to the head or neck. If using ice, it is believed to be best to have it wrapped in plastic or a towel. For immediate relief of pain resulting from anxiety headaches, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or other common pain relievers could prove effective.

It can be difficult to identify the chief culprit in many anxiety headaches.
It can be difficult to identify the chief culprit in many anxiety headaches.

In severe cases, physicians sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as Prozac to help control anxiety and its symptoms. Some of these drugs can have serious side effects, such as depression, loss of appetite, and decreased sexual drive. In addition, these anti-depressants can also be habit forming. For these reasons, they are generally not used unless other methods have failed. Some people who suffer from anxiety may need professional counseling to overcome the condition.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

I've tried magnesium and B vitamins for anxiety disorder symptoms and they really do help. I take them whenever I'm stressed because I know I'll develop a headache soon.

ysmina

@alisha-- Have you seen a doctor about this?

My sister had very bad anxiety headaches too. She was put on a high blood pressure medication and her headaches are gone. There is a type of medication that is actually used for blood pressure but it can also be prescribed off-label for anxiety and migraines. I think you should look into it.

discographer

I suffer from anxiety headaches often. When I get one, I usually take a bath, drink some herbal tea and take a nap. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Once I had such a terrible headache that it lasted three days straight. I would go to sleep with it and wake up with it. It was horrible. I don't know what to do when a headache is so intense. Nothing seems to help then.

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    • An ice pack, which can help with an anxiety headache.
      By: Marc Dietrich
      An ice pack, which can help with an anxiety headache.
    • Frequent anxiety headaches could signal an underlying health problem, so it's important to consult a physician.
      By: Andy Dean
      Frequent anxiety headaches could signal an underlying health problem, so it's important to consult a physician.
    • Anxiety headaches could be caused by stress created by anxiety.
      By: David Stuart
      Anxiety headaches could be caused by stress created by anxiety.
    • More than three percent of the world's population is believed to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder.
      By: blanche
      More than three percent of the world's population is believed to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder.
    • It can be difficult to identify the chief culprit in many anxiety headaches.
      By: themalni
      It can be difficult to identify the chief culprit in many anxiety headaches.
    • A doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help prevent recurring anxiety headaches.
      By: MediablitzImages
      A doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help prevent recurring anxiety headaches.
    • For immediate relief of pain resulting from anxiety headaches, over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can prove effective.
      By: Geo Martinez
      For immediate relief of pain resulting from anxiety headaches, over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can prove effective.
    • Temple massages may help to soothe anxiety headaches.
      By: vladimirfloyd
      Temple massages may help to soothe anxiety headaches.