Cluster Headaches – Why Are They Called Suicide Headaches?
Why are cluster headaches also known as suicide headaches? Many people are surprised to find that this nickname has been applied to what they regard as an unpleasant, but minor and occasional, fact of life. After all, doesn’t everyone get a headache from time to time? Sure, it’s no fun, but you take some aspirin or Tylenol and lie down until it goes away, maybe putting a cool wash cloth over your head to soothe the pain. In a few hours you’re back to normal. What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that cluster headaches are nothing like regular ones. The pain is so intense that it has driven not a few victims to attempt or commit suicide to escape their torment.
Forget everything you know about headaches, and throw it out the window. Cluster headaches are a whole different kettle of fish. Imagine that you’re just sitting at your desk, or you’re on the couch enjoying your favorite TV show, or you’re laying in bed reading before you fall asleep. When, out of the blue, you begin feeling a burning sensation in the lower part of your face. It begins moving higher and higher, and as it does, the sensation of heat is replaced by the feeling that you’re being stabbed over and over again right through one of your eyes, all the way into your brain. Now, imagine that feeling lasting for up to 90 minutes. Then, imagine what it must be like to know, even after the attack has ended, that you’re probably going to suffer several more of these over the next few days, weeks or months.
Even more unimaginable, what would it be like to know that you’ve going to suffer several of these attacks every day, day in and day out? That’s what people who have the chronic form of this condition have to deal with. Could you live with that pain? Could you face life day after day knowing that you’re going to be spending much of it praying for your own death to escape the torture? Many sufferers can’t, and when they can’t find any relief, they see suicide as the only way out. That’s why cluster headaches are also known as suicide headaches.