Depression and eye twitching
Eye twitching and headache: What's the link?
Eye twitching is when a person’s eye involuntarily moves. Muscle spasms around the eye usually cause eye twitching, and it often occurs at the same time as headaches. Muscle spasms can have many causes. They are typically harmless but can be bothersome.
Some people suggest that there may be a link between eye twitching and headaches. Many things can cause eye twitching and headaches, and not all are serious. But sometimes, there is cause for concern.
This article looks at the connection between eye twitching and headaches, other causes of eye twitching, and when to seek medical advice.
Sometimes, eye twitching may happen at the same time as headaches. Eye twitching may cause headaches, just as headaches may cause eye twitching.
A migraine is a neurological disease that can cause immense head pain, among other symptoms. According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraine is a condition that impacts 39 million people in the United States.
Symptoms may include:
- visual disturbances
- sensitivity to light and sound
- nausea or vomiting
- intense head pain
Symptoms involving the eyes may not always occur, but according to a small 2012 study, facial spasms known as hemifacial spasms (HFS) can be a possible complication of migraine.
Cluster headaches are a kind of headache that 2008 research linked with eye twitching.
Cluster headaches derive their name from the fact that they usually occur in clusters. As well as intense pain, people may also experience symptoms involving the autonomic nervous system with cluster headaches.
People with cluster headaches may experience symptoms including:
- runny nose
- drooping eyelid
- swelling around the eyes
It may be that a person’s headaches are unconnected to their eye twitching, but that they both occur due to the same trigger. Headaches do not always cause eye twitching, nor the other way around, but they may both occur at the same time as a response to a shared trigger.
Some of the triggers for both eye twitching and headaches include:
Frequently, when a person is overly tired (or fatigued), they may find that they experience eye twitches or headaches, or a combination of the two.
Stress or anxiety
Stress, anxiety, and depression can also trigger both headaches and eye twitching. If a person experiences either of those symptoms, they may wish to take steps to lower their stress levels to decrease the impact stress can have on their health.
Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine may also cause both headaches and eye twitching. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drinking too much caffeine (around 4–5 cups of coffee per day) can cause headaches and jitters.
The FDA also states that cutting down on caffeine too quickly can cause withdrawal symptoms. If a person wants to cut down on caffeine due to unwanted symptoms, they should discuss it with their healthcare professional to avoid any new symptoms.
Eye twitches will usually be temporary unless an underlying condition causes them. Eye twitching can be brief, lasting a few seconds. Or it can happen as often as a few times a minute or even as rarely as one-off occurrences.
Eye twitching may also be a sign of other conditions.
- benign essential blepharospasm
- Meige syndrome
Hemifacial spasm (HFS)
HFS is a neuromuscular condition in which one side of a person’s face may spasm, twitch, or otherwise move. It usually starts around the eye area but can spread to include muscles in the lower region of the face.
There may be a connection between HFS and migraine, but other times HFS is because of injuries to a nerve in the face or blood vessels applying pressure to the nerves.
Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB)
BEB is a rare neurological condition whereby the muscles around the eye involuntarily contract and spasm.
According to the National Eye Institute, BEB occurs when the part of the brain responsible for controlling eyelid muscles begins to malfunction.
Meige syndrome is a condition where all the muscles of the face, including the tongue and jaw, spasm.
Meige is a type of neurological condition known as dystonia, characterized by the involuntary spasm of muscles.
When a person’s eyes move quickly and uncontrollably, experts call this nystagmus. This can cause a person to feel as though their eye is twitching, when it is actually the eyes themselves moving that is causing the sensation.
Unlike eye twitching, which often occurs in one eye, nystagmus usually occurs in both eyes.
Less common causes
Dry eyes may also cause eye twitching. Treating the dry eye with eye drops or similar lubricating medication may cause the twitching to stop.
Rarely, eye twitching may instead be due to an underlying brain or nervous system condition, such as:
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Bell’s palsy
- multiple sclerosis
- spastic-paretic facial contracture
If a person notices that their eye twitching appears alongside any other involuntary movements in other parts of the body, they should speak with a healthcare professional to rule out any of the above.
Twitching eyes will usually resolve themselves without treatment.
If a person experiences eye twitching accompanied by a headache lasting longer than a few weeks, they should make an appointment with their healthcare professional. This way, they can rule out anything serious.
People should also contact their healthcare professional if:
- the twitching is elsewhere in the body or face as well
- the eye completely closes when it twitches
- there is discharge coming from the eye
- the eye is swollen, red, or inflamed
- the eyelid is drooping
Healthcare professionals may ask a variety of questions such as those relating to lifestyle, the onset of the symptoms, and if anything appears to trigger the symptoms.
Doctors may want to discuss options such as Botox for eye twitching. A doctor may also suggest Botox if a person experiences migraine. If an underlying condition causes the eye twitching, treating that condition may cause the twitching to stop.
Eye twitching may occur at the same time as headaches. Headaches may cause eye twitching, and eye twitching may cause headaches, but sometimes the two may be entirely unrelated.
It could also be that the triggers causing a person to experience headaches may also be causing them to experience eye twitching.
Healthcare professionals will be able to diagnose anything serious if eye twitching persists, and can rule out underlying conditions.
It is important to seek medical advice if a person experiences eye twitching along with headaches for longer than a week, or if they have any other symptoms.
Do your eyes twitch often? It could be a symptom of a mental health issue - National
When you’re experiencing anxiety, you might feel your heart racing or get sweaty palms. But there’s another symptom of the mental health condition that’s often overlooked: twitching.
According to Demian Brown, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and registered clinical social worker, twitching of your face and body is a common symptom of anxiety — especially around the eyes.
WATCH BELOW: Ask the Doctor — How to address and treat anxiety
Ask the Doctor: How to address and treat anxiety
“The twitches around the eyes, they’re called blepharospasm,” Brown told Global News. “It’s the most common place to have [twitching] with anxiety.”
Why anxiety causes twitching
When we’re anxious, our bodies tense up and become stressed. This physical reaction can make our nervous systems react erratically, causing the nerves stimulating muscles to twitch.
“When you’re under stress, physiological things start to happen to the body,” Brown said. “Your adrenaline and noradrenaline levels increase, as if your body is preparing for some kind of danger. … That takes more blood away from your extremities, and puts it more in the middle of your body.”
READ MORE: Are you Type D? The distressed personality type is often ‘overlooked’
This physical response, Brown said, increases your muscle tone and prepares your body for action. The increased level of adrenaline may also contribute to your body’s twitching.
How can you treat twitching?
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Because anxiety-related twitching is a symptom of a mental issue, it’s important to treat the underlying cause.
Brown says that practising mindfulness and mediation techniques on a daily basis helps reduce anxiety overall. He said he often gets clients to go on meditative walks where they focus on their breathing and senses, and practice relaxation exercises at home.
“It’s good when people build [mindfulness exercises] into their routines,” he said. “It drops their baseline stress and cortisol levels, and helps them [better] function in stressful situations in general.”
READ MORE: Weighted blankets, candles and salt lamps — Think twice before buying anxiety products
Talking to a therapist about your anxiety is also beneficial, as a therapist can help you with coping strategies best suited to your condition.
When twitching is something more
While it can be disruptive, anxiety-related muscle twitching is nothing to be alarmed about, and it should go away on its own. If, however, your twitching happens during periods when you’re not stressed out, you should see your doctor, Brown said.
Muscle twitching or tics can also be a sign of something more serious, like Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, neuromuscular problems or autoimmune diseases, Brown said.
While your doctor should diagnose the cause of your twitching, Brown said the major difference between anxiety twitching and a more serious medical condition is timing and frequency. He suggests keeping a log of when you experience the twitches, and the circumstances around the symptoms.
READ MORE: Depression or young onset dementia? Here’s how to tell the difference
For example, if your eye starts twitching before you’re set to give a big presentation at work, chances are you’re anxious. “That would prove it’s more anxiety-driven and situation-based,” Brown said.
But if it happens when you’re calm, take note.
“If it were more of a physical [problem], it would happen unrelated to anything,” he said. “It would be more random, or all the time.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
What to do if the eye twitches
May 21, 2018LikbezZdorove
To stop an eye tick, sometimes it is enough just to take a deep breath.
Let's not talk about the prevalence of ocular tick: it is familiar to almost every adult. In principle, unpleasant, but nothing more. In most cases, twitching of the upper or lower eyelid is a short-term phenomenon and is not a symptom of any serious disease. However, there are exceptions.
Why the eye twitches
- Twitching eye is like a headache: the possible causes of this symptom cover the full spectrum from “nothing to worry about” to “tomorrow you will die,” journalists of the American edition of The Atlantic joke. And in general they are right.
If you delve into the jungle of medical information and the jungle of various clinical manifestations, then a twitching eyelid can signal anything. Glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, developing Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, Bell's palsy... But stop.
Twitching of the eyelid (it is also an eye tick) in itself speaks of only one thing: some failure in the functioning of the central nervous system.
For example, sometimes tics are triggered by random electrical impulses in the brain. They stimulate the eye muscle, causing it to contract. Nothing that could cause concern - just a "flash" in the brain.
Eye tic is extremely rarely a sign of any serious problems, so doctors do not even try to comprehensively investigate the causes of this phenomenon.
If it nevertheless arises and gives a person anxiety, then, as a rule, they dig in one of three directions, asking the patient the following questions:
- Do you get enough sleep, do you feel rested in the morning?
- Are you experiencing prolonged stress?
- Do you drink a lot of coffee?
Fatigue and stress cause an overstrain of the nervous system, due to which random breakdowns from nerve impulses in the brain occur more often. Coffee also does not have the best effect on the nerves: if your hands tremble from drinking this drink, do not be surprised that your eye may also twitch.
What else can cause ocular tics
Also, do not write off situations that can become triggers for eyelid twitching. As a rule, they are associated with irritation of the optic nerve. Here is a list of the most common irritants:
- Too bright light or strong wind
- Working at a computer for a long time or reading in the dark
- Side effects of certain medications. For example, eyelid twitching may be an individual reaction to the use of eye or nose drops, as well as antihistamines and antidepressants.
Other relatively common, but generally not dangerous causes include: alcohol intoxication, smoking, a temporary decrease in immunity (say, after a recent flu or acute respiratory disease) or malnutrition, as a result of which the body receives less magnesium and vitamin D (deficiency these elements leads to difficulty in relaxing the muscles).
What to do if the eye twitches
Given the above, in the vast majority of cases it is not difficult to calm down a trembling eyelid:
- Try taking deep breaths or otherwise reduce stress. For example, leave your overly nervous office for a walk, or simply lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and visualize yourself as a buddha.
- Sleep well.
- Adjust the amount of caffeine in your life.
- When going out, especially on a windy and sunny day, don't forget to wear sunglasses.
- If possible, limit the time you spend in front of screens.
- Do not read in the dark.
- Make sure you eat well.
- Try to give up bad habits, or at least reduce the number of smoke breaks and high-grade parties.
- Review the list of side effects of your medications and, if necessary, talk to your doctor about changing medications.
When to See a Doctor
An eye tic is usually a one-time occurrence and rarely lasts longer than a few minutes. Even if the situation repeats itself for several days in a row, there is nothing to worry about. The eyelid just reminds you to rest and sleep.
Again, the risk that eye twitching is associated with dangerous health problems is minimal. However, although rarely, it does happen.
Schedule a visit to your doctor (physician, neurologist, or ophthalmologist) if you experience the following symptoms:
- Eye twitches for at least two weeks or longer.
- When you have a tic, you have difficulty opening your eyes.
- Tick is not limited to the eye area, but also affects other areas of the face or body.
- The eye is not only twitching, but also reddened, watery and looks swollen.
- The eyelid is drooping, completely covering the eye, and you find it difficult to raise it to its normal position.
All this may indicate either an eye injury or the development of quite serious neurological disorders. Only a specialist can install them and prescribe treatment.
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Nervous tic - symptoms, treatment, causes of the disease, first signsNervous tic - symptoms, treatment, causes of the disease, first signs
- Folk remedies
- Who treats
- where he treated
Updated: November 21, 2019
Nervous tic is a disease of the central nervous system characterized by involuntary, uniform and jerky contractions of certain muscles.
Tic is a kind of hyperkinesis, contractions of an individual muscle or an entire group due to incorrect brain settings. It sends “erroneous” nerve impulses to the muscles, leading to their rapid, monotonous contraction. It is impossible to stop these contractions on your own. Most often, a nervous tic is a twitching of the eyelid, cheek, or corner of the mouth, but it can also spread to other parts of the body.
This disease affects both children and adults. The disease is not contagious and does not affect the functioning of the nervous system or the mental abilities of a person, but significantly worsens his psycho-emotional state.
Tic is a fairly common nervous disorder among boys aged two to ten years, and is generally more common in the male population. And although the symptoms often get worse, half of the children eventually completely get rid of the disease. Also, some studies show that tics are more common among children with learning disabilities.
Nervous tic is classified according to the following criteria:
- according to the muscle groups involved, mimic or facial tic, tic of the extremities are distinguished. The vocal tic is characterized by the involvement of the vocal cords;
- according to the degree of prevalence, a local tick is distinguished, when the disease affects only one muscle group, and generalized, in which several muscle groups are involved;
- , according to the level of complexity, a simple tic is distinguished, which is characterized by the presence of elementary movements (twitching of the eyelid, corners of the mouth), and complex, with a whole range of involuntary movements (shouting out expressions, snapping fingers, etc.)
- over time: transient tic disorder and chronic motor/vocal tic disorder. Transient tic disorder affects up to 10 percent of children in their early school years, characterized by the presence of 1 or more tics for at least 1 month, but no more than 12 consecutive months. Tics that appear before age 18 and last for a year or more are classified as chronic tic disorders;
- Tourette syndrome is a complex neurological disorder characterized by multiple tics, both motor and vocal. This is the most severe and least common nervous tic.
There are two groups among the causes of a nervous tic: primary and secondary.
- primary (psychogenic or nervous) causes are the result of the influence of negative mental factors on a person’s state, for example, anxiety, fear, depression, neuroses, stress, etc. Chronic fatigue, nervous exhaustion, lack of sleep and constant tension can also cause teak. Contractions in this case are the result of an independent disorder of the central nervous system.
Most often, tics caused by primary causes are observed in children from 3 to 5 and from 7 to 11 years. Experts attribute this to the vulnerability of the child's psyche at this age. If a nervous tic is observed before the specified period, you should consult a doctor, as this phenomenon indicates the presence of a serious violation. The causes of primary tics in children can be psycho-emotional trauma caused by constant emotional instability due to a nervous situation in the family, phobias, obsessive fears, intimidation, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, congenital increased anxiety.
- secondary (or symptomatic) causes of a nervous tic are the result of metabolic disorders in the brain, infections, tissue damage. An example of such damage can be complications after infectious diseases, intoxication, trauma, herpes viruses, various organic pathologies. Also, the disease can appear due to childhood and birth injuries, a difficult pregnancy in the mother, circulatory disorders in the brain, infection with worms, and even due to malnutrition.
Some hereditary factors also lead to uncontrolled muscle contractions. A striking example of this is Tourette's syndrome, in which there is either a simple, involuntary, uniform and rapid muscle movement, or a complex of them. It is important that similar manifestations are usually found in relatives: for example, a father has a periodic contraction of the eyelid, his daughter has a clenching of his fingers into a fist.
The main and obvious manifestation of the disease is the presence of involuntary convulsive contractions affecting different muscle groups. Usually, physical attempts to stop the twitching (press down with a finger, close your eyes, etc.) only increase the manifestation of a nervous tic.
Manifestations of the disease directly depend on the location of the tick:
- the most common mimic nervous tics, in which facial muscles contract. They are characterized by lip movements, blinking, opening of the mouth, movement of the eyebrows and forehead, twitching of the nose or cheeks;
- for people suffering from a nervous tic of the head, neck and shoulders, nodding, shaking the head, clapping the palms are characteristic;
- vocal nervous tic can make a person make incoherent sounds, shout out curses, sometimes there is incoherent speech, howling;
- motor pathology affecting the trunk, accompanied by unnatural movements of the chest, protrusion of the abdomen or pelvis;
- in the case of tic arms and legs, hand clapping, stomping and bouncing are observed.
Rare symptoms of tics include palilalia (multiple repetition of a word or phrase) and echolalia (repetition of a phrase heard). Gestures of an indecent nature, shouting out obscene words are more common among adolescents and adult men. As a rule, behavioral features become noticeable to others, which attracts increased attention to a patient with a tick. In some cases, a person can temporarily stop the onset of an attack, but most often this is not possible. Attacks provoke an increase in emotional instability, which only exacerbates the symptoms.
The symptoms of tics in children are associated with general disorders of the nervous system - depression, anxiety, depression or hyperactivity. Restlessness, trouble falling asleep, high fatigue, slowness or lack of coordination of actions also contribute to the development of nervous tics.
Only a specialized specialist can make an accurate diagnosis. Rare, single facial muscle tics, caused by being in a stressful situation or general overwork, usually do not require medical intervention. Twitching may go away on its own or take on a milder, non-disturbing form. If muscle contraction affects more and more areas of the face or limbs, you should seek help from a specialist.
An interview with a neurologist and a routine examination is the first step in treating a tic. The main criterion for diagnosing a temporary tic disorder is the extent of the symptom; tics must be present daily for at least 12 consecutive months to make a diagnosis. People with a chronic tic disorder usually experience some specific tics, such as only vocal or only motor tics, but not both.
If necessary, the doctor prescribes blood and urine tests to exclude possible inflammatory processes in the body. To identify problems with the central nervous system, CT, MRI, and electroencephalography can be used. Consultations of narrow specialists, such as a psychiatrist, oncologist, cardiologist and endocrinologist, are scheduled as needed.
The sooner the patient sees a doctor, the more likely the treatment will be successful. At the first serious symptoms, you should seek help, since the most effective treatment of the disease is achieved in case of an immediate response, and also if the visit to the doctor occurred no later than 2-4 months from the onset of the disease.
Nervous tic is treated by:
- a neurologist examines the nervous system and prescribes medication;
- a psychotherapist works with mental disorders that provoke the occurrence of a nervous tic, if necessary, prescribes medication, including prescribing antidepressants, sedatives (sedatives). Some types of psychotherapy can help people control tics and reduce their occurrence. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people get used to the uncomfortable urges that precede a tic in order to reduce the symptoms. With the help of this therapy, significant results can be achieved in working with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias and other disorders;
- psychologist studies the individual characteristics of a person, helps to cope with stress, psychological stress, personal problems. Treatment is aimed at reducing anxiety, resolving traumatic situations.
During the treatment of a nervous tic, do not focus on the symptoms, as this will contribute to the deterioration of the condition. The patient should create the most comfortable living conditions for himself, try to avoid stressful situations or change his attitude towards them. Successful treatment of a nervous tic requires patience, a calm atmosphere, and the goodwill of friends and relatives. It is not recommended to shame or ridicule tics, this will only exacerbate their manifestation.
The choice of drug treatment depends on the type of tick and the degree of damage, each patient is treated individually. Medicines are successfully used in the treatment of the disease, eliminate the symptoms and improve the psychological state of the patient.
Anticonvulsants help eliminate convulsions of the mimic muscles of the face and hands, symptoms of a motor tic. Despite the effectiveness, this group of drugs has a complex effect on the body and can cause unpleasant side effects. Such funds are prescribed only by a qualified doctor in individual cases.
Sedative drugs are aimed at reducing stress tension, helping to cope with difficult situations in the patient's life. In most cases, herbal preparations are chosen, based on natural herbs. Such funds reduce the systemic effects of chemicals on the body, reduce the risk of side effects. Valerian-based preparations are widely used. They are used for physical and mental overstrain, when fatigue and sleep disturbances are of concern. They have no side effects and are not addictive.
Anxiolytics (tranquilizers) are often prescribed, which can suppress anxiety, fear, restlessness and emotional stress. Afobazole is one of the most common drugs in this group. Well tolerated, practically no side effects. There is a possibility of a headache while taking the drug, but often the pain goes away on its own, and the drug is not discontinued. It should be noted that this drug is prohibited for children under 18 years of age, as well as during pregnancy and lactation.
In the event of a depressive state, treatment is supplemented by the appointment of antidepressants. These drugs are selected by the appropriate specialist strictly individually. Since antidepressants have a cumulative effect, the duration of the course can be a month or more. It should be remembered that it is strictly forbidden to change the dosage of drugs on your own or stop taking them, because these actions can lead to the development of various unpleasant effects.
In the treatment of secondary tics, the treatment is complemented by pharmaceutical agents aimed at eliminating the underlying cause of the disease identified during the patient's examination.
Psychological comfort is often the key to a successful solution to the problem, it can be achieved not only with medication, but also with folk remedies. There are many simple and affordable ways that can reduce stress levels and relieve tension, thereby reducing the manifestation of unpleasant symptoms.
First of all, it is worth considering all kinds of herbal drinks and infusions that you can buy in pharmacies, or you can cook yourself. Soothing teas can bring peace to a person’s state, distract him from stress. Chamomile, mint and lemon balm are successfully used to restore peace of mind. You can try this soothing decoction: mix equal parts rue leaves and anise seeds, add plantain leaves. 4 tablespoons of the mixture pour 0.5 liters of boiling water, leave to infuse for half an hour, then strain. Remove the zest from 2 lemons, mix with half a glass of honey, combine with herbal infusion. Drink before meals in small sips.
Various tinctures have been successfully used. For example, you can use hawthorn berries - they are able to normalize the functioning of the circulatory system, improve sleep quality, and stabilize the nervous system.