Tag Archive: Migraine


National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness

Each year, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is observedto educate the public and raise awareness

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straight. Today was so bad I couldn't concentrate on what I was saying. I'm not even sure I knew WHAT I was saying because of the pain. I even mixed up two people's names and felt really dumb afterwards. Anyone got a migraine cure? 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

about invisible illnesses. One of the blogging activities this year is a “meme,” 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know. So, here’s my meme…So that my readers can better understand who I am, maybe you also suffer and used alcohol to cope.  I felt compelled to post this:

  1. The illnesses I live with are: Migraine disease, IBS, chronic body pain, hypoglycemia and a few others.
  2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2003.
  3. But I had symptoms since: 1987 (4 years old)
  4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Keeping medication on me at all times, avoiding food and environmental triggers.
  5. Most people assume: that Migraines are “just headaches” or no big deal just deal with it.
  6. The hardest part about mornings is: waking up with pain
  7. My favorite medical TV show is: Greys anatomy
  8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my computer and my smart phone.  I track all my migraines with an app on my phone.
  9. The hardest part about nights is: occasional insomnia.
  10. Each day I take: 8-10 pills and nose spray
  11. Regarding alternative treatments I: use meditation, heat/cold therapy.
  12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: visible.
  13. Regarding working and career: I can work from home when I can’t make it to the office.
  14. People would be surprised to know: that I am in some type of pain every second of every minute of every day.
  15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: limitations.
  16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: make a difference for others with the disease.
  17. The commercials about my illness: are far and few between and inadequate.
  18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I was diagnosed at 20 years old with migraines, but have had then since I was 4 – so not sure what I have missed other than a lot of work days.  IBS has made me change my diet. I have missed social events and work events due to overall body pain.
  19. It was really hard to have to give up: I had to give up eating, smelling or being around chocolate at all.
  20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Not much I can do while a migraine is in full swing.  But while being laid up in bed with other pain or unable to sleep – I like to blog, read, crochet, paint, cross stitch…lots of different things.  I like to play online games too once in a while.
  21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: not know what to do with myself.  better yet – who’s normal are we talking about?  All I have ever known is this pain.
  22. My illness has taught me: Not give up, that I am not alone and that the ones who love me really do care.
  23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: people thinking I can take a couple of Tylenol and “get over” a Migraine.

    Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

    Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Extra Strength Tylenol PM, pain relievers with the active ingredient acetaminophen/paracetamol. Tylenol PM (the white-and-blue tablets) also contains diphenhydramine, a sleep aid. These drugs were made by McNeil-PPC, Inc. The expiration date for the Tylenol is April 2007; the expiration date for the Tylenol PM is April 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  24. But I love it when people: actually ask questions and want to understand.
  25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:  Can only live life on life’s terms – can only live one day at a time – Let go and let God – turn things over to a higher power, or a power greater than myself.
  26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: learn all you can about this disease, then take charge of your health, your own health care and pain management plan.
  27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: how many people come up with “cure” scams to make money from us.
  28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: my husband rubs my back and my neck for me once in a while.  He tries to keep the house quiet and dark for me.
  29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: if we’re to make progress, we must speak out and keep speaking out to educate people.
  30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: that we CAN make a difference!
Migraine Barbie has Snapped!

Migraine Barbie has Snapped! (Photo credit: Deborah Leigh (Migraine Chick))

It means a lot to me to be able to share with others the pain and the suffering that I live with every day in the hopes that maybe someone will find in it the comfort that they are not alone.  Just as with the openness that I have with the AA and AL-alanon aspects of our life, migraines and chronic pain is something I wish to be open about.  Through numbers we gain strength and hope.  Migraine sufferers have a high subside rate, its is hard to get health care professionals to understand that not all chronic pain sufferers are pill seeking.  Most of us would rather have a treatment plant than be drugged.  Those who seek only to drug themselves then live life might have started out this way, but through desperation have reached a point in which being unable to feel anything is better that feeling pain.  At least to me , if I can still feel – I am still alive.  It might be pain, it might be dark, lonely and terrifying, but I have faith that when the clouds part, I will have sunshine – even if its for a brief moment.

 

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How Common Are They?

I have been wondering about the lack of sleep we get and the increased chance of abusing a substance.  So I did some googling and found a few articles on this.  Thought I might share one with you.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766287/

Sleepy

Sleepy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sleep Disorders in Substance Abusers

Youssef Mahfoud, MD, Farid Talih, MD, David Streem, MD, and Kumar Budur, MD

Youssef Mahfoud, Dr. Mahfoud is an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow from the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio;

Contributor Information.

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO: Youssef Mahfoud, MD, University Hospitals, WO Walker Center, 10254 Euclid Ave., Suite 3200, Cleveland, OH 44106; E-mail: youssef.mahfoud@uhhospitals.org

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

There are some interesting things in this article.  I will post a few things and then talk about it a bit.  If you would like to see the full article please see the link above.

Abstract

Substance abuse is a major public health problem with high morbidity and mortality. Comorbid disorders are suspected to cause a high relapse rate. Subjects with sleep disorders tend to self medicate with alcohol and tranquilizers to promote sleep or abuse stimulants to stay awake during the day. Substance abuse can, in turn, cause sleep disturbances, which can result in relapse. No studies have systematically studied the prevalence of various sleep disorders in these subjects.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted at the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center (ADRC) at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Subjects with active substance abuse and the ability to consent were recruited to complete a comprehensive sleep disorder questionnaire, including a general medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse history as well as validated scales (e.g., Insomnia Severity Index, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Berlin Questionnaire for sleep apnea and restless legs).

Results: Thirty patients completed the survey so far. The most commonly abused substance was alcohol (80%) followed by narcotics (40%); about 66 percent were polysubstance users. Forty-six percent of the patients reported using substance to self-medicate sleep problems. The prevalence of various sleep disorders in this population along with the prevalence in general population in parenthesis are as follows: Sleep impairment (PSQI>5) was noted in 96 percent (15%) of the subjects, and 56 percent (10–15%) had insomnia of moderate-to-severe degree. Symptoms suggestive of sleep apnea were reported in 53 percent (4–6%) of the subjects and restless leg syndrome symptoms in 33 percent (10%).

Conclusion: Substance abuse is on the rise and affects every aspect of society. Our study has, for the first time, systematically evaluated various sleep disorders in these subjects who seem 5 to 10 times more likely to have sleep disorders. Diagnosing and treating sleep disorders will have a huge impact in inducing remission. However, this study has significant limitations, including a small number of subjects, subjective data collected via questionnaires, and no long-term follow-up, which makes it difficult to draw conclusions.

 

sleepy fairy

sleepy fairy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a feeling that there would be a link here.  I know on many nights my hubby would say that he could not get to sleep unless he had a bit to drink.  Well that “bit” kept getting bigger and bigger.  It’s the self medication that some times can make the issue at hand worse and if we are being treated by a Dr for the condition, taking the RX meds and still self mediating we could be causes the medication from the Dr to not work, or making even work in a negative way.  We might just be over all making the situation worse.

The sleep aids is a big grey area with me.  I take some over the counter ones once in a while if I can not sleep.  Most of the time it is either stress related or migraine induced.  I play a game on my lappytop or read a book to help unwind my brain, but if my head is pounding the book is not going to do me any good.  I try not to take them very often and sometimes I wait till it’s too late to take them.  I have to be able to drive to work the next day.

Introduction

The relationship between substance abuse and sleep is emerging as an area of great interest for researchers. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.6 percent of Americans older than 12 years met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence, and the prevalence of illicit drug use in the same year was as high as 14.5 percent.1 Similarly, sleep disorders are also very common. The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll, 2008, showed that about two-thirds (65%) of working adults reported experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week within the past month, and 44 percent reported this occurring every night or almost every night.2

I am part of that group that has an issue getting to sleep more that a few nights a week. 

Several studies have reported sleep problems associated with the use of several illicit drugs, and the vast majority of alcoholic patients entering treatment reported insomnia-related symptoms, such as difficulty falling and maintaining sleep.3,4 For example, the prevalence of insomnia ranged from 36 to 72 percent in patients admitted for alcoholism treatment, depending on sample characteristics and instruments used to measure insomnia.46 The polysomnographic features after drinking alcohol, during withdrawal, and during abstinence are well defined. Alcohol intake increases slow wave sleep and suppresses rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During periods of acute withdrawal, sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) is increased, total sleep time is decreased, slow wave sleep returns to baseline while REM sleep either rebounds or returns to baseline. Sleep fragmentation and REM sleep disruptions can sometimes persist for 1 to 3 years after achieving sobriety.7 Similarly, opiates, despite their sedating effect, interrupt sleep by increasing wakefulness and decreasing total sleep time, slow wave sleep, and REM sleep.8 Some researchers debate the cause and effect relationship between sleep and substance abuse disorders. Sleep problems might predispose an individual to alcoholism.9 Sleep problems can sometimes be severe enough to reverse alcohol or drug treatment success and precipitate a relapse to addiction or dependence.10 Disturbed sleep is a significant predictor of relapse even after controlling other factors, like depression, and the severity of alcohol dependence and relapse was greater in individuals with alcoholism who had insomnia versus those with alcoholism without insomnia at baseline.11 However, paucity of information is noted regarding the prevalence of sleep disorders in subjects who abuse other drugs, and very little information is available on the prevalence of other sleep disorders even in subjects who abuse alcohol. It is in this context that a cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of various sleep disorders in subjects who were admitted to the ADRC at Cleveland Clinic, a tertiary referral center.

I remember that when my hubby was detoxing he said that he hardly slept.  He went to bed very late and was up very early.  Now that is a much different story.  Mind you we are both in the 28-34 age group and yet we are ready for bed at like 9pm at night and more than willing to sleep in, till 7am.  Yes, 7am is sleeping in for us when we are used to getting up at 5am during the week.

Hubby has said a few times lately that he remembers being about to stay up sooo late when he was drinking or right when he got sober.  I remember having to stay up till 1 or 2 am and having to drive home from a friend’s house or my Brothers.  I would still get up at 6am most Saturdays to go out with my mom and then come home, take a quick nap and then start it all over again.  Sundays I would be so dead that I could not do anything.  Most of the time from the lack of sleep I would have such a bad migraine that I would stay in bed all day.

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straight. Today was so bad I couldn't concentrate on what I was saying. I'm not even sure I knew WHAT I was saying because of the pain. I even mixed up two people's names and felt really dumb afterwards. Anyone got a migraine cure? 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Discussion

The results from our study show a very high prevalence of sleep disturbances among subjects with substance abuse or dependence, with almost all of the subjects reporting impaired sleep quality. Also, more than half of the subjects had moderate-to-severe insomnia. This is much higher than what is found in the general population (17–30%) or in a general medical sample (16%, severe insomnia; 34%, mild insomnia over the prior 4 weeks).18,19 More than half of the subjects had a high pre-test probability for sleep apnea, which is again higher than in the general population (4–6%).20 Of note, the prevalence of symptoms suggestive of restless legs syndrome was also very high (33%) compared to the general population (10%).21 Almost half of the subjects admitted to abusing a substance to promote sleep, and this is consistent with the findings in the previous studies wherein subjects reported consuming alcohol to help them with insomnia.

This study has several limitations, including a small sample size, collection of data from self-administered questionnaires, and lack of objective sleep metrics, which reduce the ability to apply the findings in clinical practice. A follow-up study with a larger sample size and with objective sleep metrics, such as Actigraphy, Polysomnography and Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), is warranted to further elucidate the findings of this study.

Well that is all that I will post from that article, if you would like to read more of it please check it out. I know that with my migraines having a sleep schedule that really don’t change is what I need to make sure that I am giving myself the best chance to avoid a migraine for that day.  It seems that might be a clue towards substance abuse as well.  It seems that when I was told that a lack of sleep messes with your whole system, they were telling the truth.  So if it be migraines or substance abuse, we need to try to get to bed the same time every night and get sleep.

I know easier said than done.  Most nights I spend a long time looking at the fan in the bed room.  I found that having the TV on low helps me, if it is too quiet in the room the ringing in my ears is too much for me to handle.  If the room is too warm I will not be able to stay asleep at all.  If I have clothes on that are too tight or restrictive in any way then I can not get any rest.  I hope this might shred some light on what might be keeping you awake at night.

One day we will know the serenity of falling asleep shortly after laying down at night.  God bless you my friends.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

Could…

Taken from my comment on Rex’s post about “We Can’t Think Our Way Sober’

I like how step 2 says “could restore us to sanity”  Could is a very important word there, because it starts with us.  We have to admit, then we have to believe and then we can begin to be restored to sanity if we can let go and let “god” (as we understood him) restore us.

Our Higher Power could restore us to sanity, that whats I have to always remember.  That I still need to do my part so that I can be restored.  If my higher power is to be able to assist me in any way, I have to be able to let go of what it is that is troubling me.  And honestly let go, I will sometimes say I let go of something but am still holding onto a strand of it.  Not wanting to give up full control over the outcome, when truth is I have never had control over the outcome from the beginning but I thought I did.  I still have a bit of an issue doing this, but I am getting better.  The hardest thing to do this with is when we have bad weather or my migraines.  I try to panic about the bad storm and try to think out all the outcomes and worry about stuff that has not happened yet.  With my migraines I worry about what others will think if I can’t do something or want to lay down for a while.  Can not change how they see me and if I have to go lay down, then that’s what I have to do.  I will pray that my higher power helps me though the storm either outside or in my head and then I sit back and wait for the rainbow.
I can’t think my way out of the migraine, that might just make it worse.  I can’t expect my husband to out think his addiction, we both tried it and it didn’t work.  I am happy that his recovery and my recover from that part is well underway and we are both doing so well.  We both have come so far.  But I just with the migraines would try to catch up on the recover process.  But all I can do it take life one day at a time, so in turn all I can do is take it one migraine at a time as well.  I worried all the time that if I got sick like my mom or if the migraines got any worse that he would leave me.  Why would he want to stay with a sick person?  Well I stayed with him while he was sick, all I can do is have faith that he will be there and my higher power will be there.  I need to not keep my fears inside and learn to give up control to the ones who truly have control over them.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

Steps…


“It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I thought this was fitting for anyone doing the 12 steps.  You must remember that it is a one step at a time thing.  One step at a time, one day at a time, one goal at a time… it’s not an over night change.  I thought once He stopped drinking life was going to go back to normal.  Nope, he had a lot of pain and things pent up that he was hiding with the alcohol.  We both hid behind our own veils and thought we did a good job.  I used to think as long as there was a smile on my face no one would know how bad I hurt.  Not so much.  To most I am an open book, no matter what cover I put on the pages people can still read the signs.  The only person I felt never got me was my husband.  He could never understand the pain from being lonely, the migraines, the hurtfulness from his words…there is no way he understood me.  The only one of those that was true was the migraines, he doesn’t have them that bad.  Little did I understand then that he was in his own kind of pain.  He understood all too well the loneliness, he is the adult child of two sever alcoholics who do not believe they have an issue and have disowned their son and me.  That is their own deal, and we are not going to be a part of it.  They also have the control problem and we were unwilling to let them control us and that didn’t work for them.

Pain is lonely, I spent so much time alone due to my migraines.  No one understands them, they just want to leave you alone.  That works for some people, but I hate to be alone.  Now that my husband has a better understanding of my migraines, he knows how to better help me.  Just as he took the time to learn about my illness, I took the time to learn about his.  That’s when I discovered its not just the alcoholic who is sick.  It’s a family illness and effects all members in it.  AA will not teach him how to make me stop being co-dependent and Al-anon will not teach me how to get him to stop drinking.  The groups are there to help the person in it, the other person needs their own recovery plan.

So just remember, just because it doesn’t seem like someone should be in pain, the hurt could just be in the inside.  Just because they don’t have bruises and scares, doesn’t mean that it’s all in their head.  You would not tell a person who has cancer to just stop having cancer, its something that needs to be treated.

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