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Can Strange Headaches and Reactions Be Induced by Stress?

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From the U.S.: For a few months, I’ve been getting these sudden headaches that don’t hurt so much as they feel strange and are very hard to describe. It starts with a sharp, adrenaline charged feeling in my head that becomes a tingling or numbness somewhere else, such as in my hands or in my face, or sometimes it feels like it’s manifesting inside of my head. This numbness usually moves around my hands and face, sometimes to the point where a whole part of my face will be without sensation. I have trouble concentrating, and speaking, during these headaches.

At first it seemed like there was no cause or correlation, and the last time I went to the doctor, I was told it could be something neurological, but no conclusion. But I noticed that these headaches usually come about when I’m in a really bad mood, stressed or frightened.

After high school, I became jumpy and easily startled by noise and quick movements, but I never understood why. For most of my life, I took pride in being the friend who could keep it together and I was not easily moved or frightened. Now, I feel like everything makes me cry, and a loud noise or large movement can startle me even when I know it’s going to happen.

Is there an explanation for this? Is there a link between this kind of headache and a neurological or psychological condition in current medical knowledge? I am going to continue corresponding with my doctor, but the sooner I can solve it the better! Thank you!

Can Strange Headaches and Reactions Be Induced by Stress?

Answered by on -


By all means stay in contact with your doctor. Please ask why he or she hasn’t already made a referral to a neurologist. Your symptoms are a cause for concern. There are many possible neurological causes for what you are experiencing. I won’t hazard a guess because I have so little information. See an expert as soon as possible.

You want to be very sure there isn’t a medical reason for your symptoms before deciding they are caused by anxiety. Anxiety and stress may not be the root of the problem, though they may be making a medical problem worse. The time to see a counselor is if neurological tests determine that you are medically fine.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can Strange Headaches and Reactions Be Induced by Stress?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can Strange Headaches and Reactions Be Induced by Stress?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.