Headaches and Depression: Are they linked?

A new study came out documenting a correlation between headaches and depression. The logical question now is do headaches cause depression or does depression cause headaches? As long as we ask that cause and effect question, we will miss the third causative agent of both–unhappy reltsionships.

I am a licensed clinical professional counselor and the Executive Director of the William Glasser Institute, the founder of Reality Therapy. Reality Therapy is based on a theory called, Choice Theory (CT) and CT tells us that everything we do is purposeful, including headaches and depressing.

When a person is unhappy, it is usually because of an unhappy relationship and that relationship can be the one we have with ourselves. The typical thought is that things happen outside of us that cause our depression or that chemicals in our brains become imbalanced and create depression in our bodies. As an alternative to this victimizing way of thinking, CT posits that people actually choose depression, headaches and other behaviors, although subconsciously, to get back in control of their lives or the relationship that isn't working for them. Intuitively, this doesn't seem to make sense on the surface but when you examine it closer, it makes perfect sense.

If outside events cause depression, then how can we explain that one person can have the same stressor and not become depressed? It's resiliency and resiliency is nothing more than a person who has discovered to focus their energy on what they have control over–themselves–and not everyone else around them.

Dr. Glasser says, "It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice."

This is not about blaming the victim for making choices over which he or she was unaware. It's about empowering the person to understand there are better choices. Depression doesn't cause migraines and migraines don't cause depression. It's unhappiness, probably a relationship, that causes both. That's the connection.

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