Migraine Quiz

Alcohol Use, Problem Drinking, And Headache

Alcohol Overuse and Chronic Headache

Alcohol overuse has been associated with new daily persistent headache. On occasion, alcohol is used in an attempt to dull pain. This is not a good practice for a number of reasons, but it's certainly not a great idea if it ends up giving you a chronic headache. This does not, of course, mean an occasional hangover headache, but is referring to general alcohol overuse and problem drinking.

What are the reasons headache sufferers might abuse alcohol? Is alcohol use associated with anxiety disorders? There is actually some evidence to suggest that alcohol dependence may be twice as high in people with anxiety disorders as in the general population.

Watch for these symptoms of a drinking problem:

  • More than three drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week if you are a woman (or a man over age 65)
  • More than four drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week if you are a man (under age 65)
  • Inability to stop drinking at a given time (binge drinking)
  • Failure to do what was expected of you because of drinking
  • "Blackouts" or memory loss because of drinking, like forgetting what happened the night before
  • Needing a drink first thing in the morning
  • Losing friends because of drinking
  • Feeling guilty about how much you drink
  • Feeling annoyed or angry when people talk about how much you drink, or when you read things like this list

If you think you might have a problem, talk to someone. Seek help for your problem drinking. Be smart, and get control of your drinking. And don't use headache as an excuse to drink, because it's not really a very good one. Who wants a daily headache?

Updated September 7, 2012