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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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Since a traumatic event in mid-December our 15-yr old HS

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Since a traumatic event in mid-December our 15-yr old HS Frosh son is missing school with migraine headaches that come on each weekday morning.

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

I'm sorry to hear your son is going through this experience.

Has he been checked out by a medical doctor to evaluate whether the migraines have any medical origin?

Once I receive your answer I will send a more detailed response. You are not charged until you receive a satisfactory answer and click on "Accept".

Look forward to receiving your reply.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The migraines started in 4th grade with the bullying. Over the years, especially in the past two, our son has been checked medically for Marfan Syndrome, by a CHOC Orange County Hospital Neurologist, his pediatrician, a pediatric opthomologist, a psychologist - all with negative results. Currently, he is under the care of a Psychologist as listed above, a chiropractor, a psychiatrist for meds, and an acupuncturist. Even his school counselor believed he is "stressed". Otherwise a straight A full honors student with little trouble in class or homework, he sails through school, but his absences, particulary for the first class (English) are loosing his teacher's support. How can I get him to school on time. Even home visits by his Psychologist have not turned him around; only those mornings when he comes to the house, and we can't afford to do that every day. He seemed to be improving the last two weeks but this week has missed two whole days and a partial day yesterday, and is still in bed with a level 9 migraine as I write this. Any suggestions? He does not want to leave the school in spite of the traumas and discomfort he feels.
Thank you for the additional information.

Wow! It seems that he has gone through quite a bit with his migraines.

If no medical cause could be found the only explanation would be that his headache is psychosomatic.

Can you please share if his headaches ever start in school? In other words, if he can get to school once is he then fine for the rest of the school day? Also, do they come on weekends? Or in the evenings or just on weekday mornings? Also, during school holidays (Christmas, summer etc.) do you find the frequency of these migraines to be less?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Again, his headaches seem to be due to his internalization of stress - and the memory of stressful events. His acupuncturist yesterday found a lump in his back and recommended we seek medical testing (x-ray and MRI) which I have already scheduled for Monday. The headaches can come on at any time, but lately seem to be prevalent in the early morning upon waking; mostly on school days. If he wakes with a headache, goes to the acupuncturist to get 100% relief and then goes to school, the headache can come back, but with only two exceptions this school year, he is able to get thru the school day, often that headache resolves itself before th end of school. Does this info help?

Thank you very much for the additional information. It certainly was very helpful.

The fact that the headaches typically come in the morning upon waking and mostly on school days does indicate that it is probably stress related.

You mention that he is being seen by a psychologist - is this like regular therapy? And if so is the psychologist using any particular modality?

The way I see it - there are very clear worries/fears/obstacles in his mind that are so hard to face and deal with that he represses them to the point where they come out psychosomatically as physical symptoms. Therefore to solve the problem two things are very important - 1) teaching him the skills/techniques to address those particular fears whether it is peer pressure or bullying, anything at all that worries him 2) provide him with ways to externalize his fears/anxieties whether it is by verbalizing it, working out or maintaining a journal 3) uncover the beliefs that currently hold him back from dealing with his worries more assertively (an example of a limiting belief could be - "I do not have the skills to deal with xyz" ) which then translates into his receding from facing that challenge.

In order to address the 1-3 points I listed above, a cognitive behavioral therapist will be best able to help. Cognitive behavioral therapy is goal driven and action oriented and your son should typically start seeing results within a few weeks. In order to locate a therapist who specializes in CBT you can click here and search by zip code then when the results show up on the left hand bar you'll see the option to search by orientation and under that CBT. Click on that and you'll have the list of practicing therapists who specialize in CBT.

I hope this was helpful. Please do let me know if you have additional questions/thoughts/reactions.

Warm regards,

Arundhati and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The psychologist my son is seeing since Christmas is a cognitive behavioral therapist. You confirmed some of the work he is doing with my son and gave me a few ideas to work on at home. Thank you. I will accept your answer most definately! Well worth the second opinion; your answers were easy to read and understand.