Severe acute headache when angry?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by rlsnights, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Anyone else's kiddo report getting a really, really bad headache when they start getting angry?

    difficult child 2 has mentioned a couple times that he's got a really bad headache at the same time he's angry. After 3 bad rages in the past week I asked him today if he had a headache with each one and he said yes. He clenched his fists and said they hurt really bad and did other people get headaches when they got mad?

    difficult child 2 says the headache goes away once he's been calm for a while.

    Just wondering.
  2. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    That is very interesting. Does the pain come on before the rage or during? Is difficult child able to sort that out...maybe not. I'm not sure what to think. Does he get severe muscle tension while angry? That can cause one heck of a headache, but generally doesn't subside quickly. On the other hand, having a headache can certainly shorten a person's fuse.

    Seems to warrant advice from your pediatrician. I'm interested to hear what you learn. Bug sometimes reports a headache when he is generally grumpy, but not severe headaches.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Has he ever been evaluated by a neurologist for seizures?
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    How's his blood pressure?
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    When you are mad and raging your blood pressure goes up. This can cause a horrible headache. If possible, check his blood pressure when he is not upset or raging. Tell him you want to know what it is for each member of the family.

    Let him check your BiPolar (BP) if he wants. If he balks use a treat to get his cooperation. If candy, let him have one piece/serving. Then each time you check it give him that same treat.

    After a rage you should check it again. See what it is doing. It may grate to give him a treat after a rage, but cooperating with the blood pressure monitoring is very important. Important enough to go ahead with the treat, in my opinion.

    Once you check the BiPolar (BP), get an appointment with his pediatrician or psychiatrist and get their opinion. BiPolar (BP) may rise or drop with anger. Either one can cause headaches, and the docs need this info to help him with mood and with the headaches.

    Has his glucose tolerance ever been checked? That A1C thingy? Drops in blood sugar, or rapid increases, can cause headaches. And glucose level changes can trigger aggression.

    I am sorry he is having rages and headaches, but the headaches may be an important piece of this puzzle.
  6. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Thanks for all the ideas guys. No he has never had a neurology consult - none of his docs have ever been willing to refer him for one since he hasn't had any symptoms that they felt warranted one. We have an HMO and difficult child 2 already costs them 100 times more than the other 99% of their patients - so no neurology referral. Plus there's only ONE pediatric neurologist for the entire University medical center and all it's affiliated docs.

    difficult child 2 has multiple chronic health conditions and has his BiPolar (BP) checked at doctors office at least monthly (we end up there 1 to 2 times per month) plus his psychiatrist checks it most months. She sees him at least once every 4 weeks. His BiPolar (BP) during this visits has never been high.

    He also has $2000 worth of blood tests run at least every 2-3 months and usually more often. In August they were run twice because his liver enzymes were elevated after we started him on Lamictal. The labs always include a random glucose and he has had fasting glucose done at least 3 times in the past 2 years when his random glucose was a little high.

    One of the reasons we are trying to wean him from the Abilify is that we have seen a rise in his fasting glucose from the 70's to just over 100 since he started it. So the headache/rages could be related to glucose levels. Something else for me to observe and report to psychiatrist.

    But I don't think that can explain everything. His rage on Friday afternoon started about and hour after we got home from school and he had a large snack about 45 minutes before it started. Same deal with the Saturday morning rage - he had had breakfast at least 30 minutes before that.

    I assumed that his BiPolar (BP) gets really high during a rage and that may be the cause of the headache. But there is no way he would sit still for me to take his BiPolar (BP) then. Don't know how soon afterwards he would let me. We don't have a BiPolar (BP) cuff. I sent an update to his psychiatrist last night and included the info about the headaches. I think I will wait for her feedback/instructions before I go get a cuff, etc.

    He reports that the headache comes on after he starts getting angry - not before. And it is usually gone within 20 minutes of him calming down.

    G2g and get everyone off to school.
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    I have not seen this firsthand but a mom from another local group told me this was happening quite frequently with her daughter who was about 12 and suspected bipolar at the time. She was missing school they were so bad.
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    ktbug used to scream in pain after a meltdown (hers would last up to 7 hours. She had a PRN medication & the doctor approved 600 mg for the pain.

    I'm here to tell you that when I get stressed or very emotional I can get a doozy of a headache.

    You've been given wise advise ~ just wanted to share with you what we've experienced here.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It might be helpful to see if the docs would write a scrip for a home blood pressure monitor. Then the HMO should cover it as a durable medical equipment expense. What he costs them for other things should not be a factor.

    There are even wristwatch versions and wristwatch heart rate monitors. They can give a report saying when his heart rate changed (usual during a rage/meltdown). This would give you some idea of what is going on.

    He might think the new watch was cool and high tech enough to wear it often.

    Sounds like you have some good ideas.

    Sorry he hurts.
  10. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    Headaches are a common problem with blood pressure or stress related situations. Both my wife and son both have head aches when in a manic situation.

    I personally have BiPolar (BP) trouble and know that when I have a stressful time, that it surely makes those headaches come on.

    Talk to your pediatrician or primary doctor though, to cover all angles.

    T. Paul
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My son suffered from severe migraines either before a meltdown or after. They were so bad he was missing up to one day a week of school. I was never able to find a medical reason for them - but it was obvious they were directly related. It has been 2 years now without a serious migraine, and the only explanation for me is that either his medication is stabilizing them, or he has outgrown them. Another thing that difficult child did is go on a dairy free diet for a year - and that seemed to stop the migraines.

    I would definitely have your difficult child get a work up by a neurologist however. You just never know if the anger could be related to an undetected seizure disorder.
  12. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    thanks for all the advice and feedback. I'm waiting to hear back from psychiatrist about several things - this is one of them. If I haven't heard sooner, I have an appointment with her on Thursday morning and can talk about it then.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    When my son (now 19) gets angry - he has headaches, has had headaches and unless he utilizes his anger management techniques will probably always continue to get headaches.

    When you get angry - you tense up - when you tense up and stay in a tensed state? You can cause yourself all kinds of problems - muscles spasms, tics, headaches, nausea, vomiting. I mean the list is pretty per-person as to how it can affect you. Some people even black out they get so angry.

    Anger management taught my son how to a.) NOT let things get to him = by that I mean how not let things people say be so traumatic or offensive. For starters - know your triggers, learn to count, walk away.

    Most people think that being ANGRY is BAD. We equate being angry with being the bad person. Not so. It's OKAY to be angry. It's fine to be angry. But how you HANDLE yourself when you are angry is another thing. How your outward behavior towards others when you are angry or your inward behavior toward yourself when you are angry (processing) is very important. SO Angry - is okay - but throwing, hitting, biting, name calling, breaking things, - NOT okay. Going for a walk, yoga, doing tensing exercises until you think the anger has left your body, punching a pillow, yelling into a pillow, jumping up and down in place - or having a hissy fit - fine as long as your outburst hurts no one or yourself.

    Eventually you learn to self-calm and that takes a lot of time - especially if you are raging or have no clue that it's okay to be angry. Most people when a child is angry will tell them first thing - STOP THAT....and I have to ask them - WELL WHY???? WHY can't he be angry? If he can't go pound sand how is he supposed to get all that frustration out of his system? Where do you think all that bottled up rage will eventually go? Just disappear?'s going to come out someplace.....and part of it? Is going to come at you - and her----and them.....and him....and in a headache.

    Breathing techniques and that tense exercise is about the coolest thing I ever had someone teach Dude. Try it - the next time you are (as an adult) frustrated as an adult) sit in a chair. Grab the bottom of the chair with both hands and tense up your entire body as tight as you can from top to bottom and hold it like that for as long as you can - like you are trying to "pass" a bowling ball - (i know sounds awful) and just hold your breath for 30-45 seconds - and then exhale....then inhale and do it again....repeat this for about 3 minutes...and I"m telling you - you are so dang worn out - at the end of this exercise - you can't get too worked up over anything - you have taken tense out of your body, muscles and's exhausting. The next time your kids are just angry and come home from school like that - tell them to sit in the kitchen chair and try it...three minutes you're a magician - you bet them - you can remove all the anger - but they have to be willing to give you THREE minutes and all the strength in their bodies....they pull up with their arms and push down with the rest of their body - legs and all - and go.......they can breathe because it's hard for kids to hold their breath.....and they just hold this as long as they can until they let go - and when they stop - say REPEAT....and lets see how long you can HOLD.....IT.....GO. and do it over for at least three minutes.....they will get up and feel like limp noodles.

    It's an anti-anger exercise. - really. really.

    It's not a great one to do in school - but at home? YEah - really good. And it helps them to learn self - control. For three minutes - he had total control over what he did - entirely - praise him and let him go - it will really help him feel better.

    And as far as a neuro - well I have severe migraines and they are genetic so Dude has them too. I take 2 kinds of medicines - but my best bit of advice for anyone who has migraines is to start a migraine diary -

    Weather - (VERY IMPORTANT) sunny, overcast, cloudy, humitity, temp.
    Food eaten prior -
    Drinks -(pay special attention to caffeine intake)
    Activity prior -
    Sleep amt -
    Duration -
    Side of head -left right
    Front back

    Do this DAILY for about three months -
    IF no headache - write NONE - but keep a chart of the weather....that day...

    Hope this helps

    WElcome to the family! :D