How anxiety can worsen your pain, even after the agony has subsided

“Pain can cause the mind to kill itself,” said researcher Lila Ibrahim, PhD, as she reviewed her long-term treatment of a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder at Stanford University Hospital. “It takes a lot…

How anxiety can worsen your pain, even after the agony has subsided

“Pain can cause the mind to kill itself,” said researcher Lila Ibrahim, PhD, as she reviewed her long-term treatment of a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder at Stanford University Hospital. “It takes a lot of effort to bring the mind back.”

In 2007, Dr. Ibrahim, a pediatric neurologist, was overwhelmed by the volume of patients in her clinic suffering from severe migraines and hypersomnia. Many of these patients were also suffering from chronic, debilitating anxiety. Several of her patients were also plagued by the trauma of 9/11 and its long-lasting effect on their emotions and moods.

“I wasn’t sure if they would be able to play again,” Dr. Ibrahim recalls, “if they would ever be able to function in society and not start having problems with their family and they weren’t aware of it. I knew it would take a long time to work through the fog that most people have, particularly when we are dealing with long-term migraine headaches.”

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