Moving away from home to a college dorm is a drastic life change for incoming freshman. The new freedom and responsibility is exciting, by it is also ripe with situations that can induce migraine and headache attacks. From increased stress to new foods and irregular sleep patterns, college is full of migraine triggers. Knowing what they are and creating a plan ahead of time can keep the disease from getting in the way of the college experience.
Anticipate Old and New Triggers
Due to the radical lifestyle change, new triggers will be introduced and old ones will still be prevalent. Between classes, homework, studying and keeping a social life, time will be stretched thin, which might end up cutting back on sleep, a common migraine trigger. Additionally, change itself is a frequent catalyst for migraine and headache attacks, which can be compounded by the lack of sleep and dietary adjustments. Fortunately, creating a plan prior to leaving for college can help manage the frequency of these attacks.
Create a Plan
You may have a solid plan in place prior to college, but a change of this magnitude warrants a new one. Visit a headache specialist for help in identifying potential triggers based on your past history. From there, write down potential scenarios and how they will each be handled. A headache diary will become extremely important during this tumultuous time to keep a detailed record every time headache or migraine attacks occur. This will help you recognize triggers so you can avoid them to prevent attacks. Also, create a headache preparedness kit to carry in your bookbag to help manage sudden headache or migraine, and stock the dorm refrigerator with water, power drinks and relevant medications to remain hydrated and prepared.
Before the semester begins, visit the health center and your academic advisor to discuss the process of reporting the headache and migraine attacks. The university may even have an existing policy. Notifying the health staff, academic advisor and professors ahead of time will make them much more likely to work with you should you become ill. It’s also a good idea to mention this to your roommate and employers, as they can help make your college experience much more migraine-friendly. Since migraine and headache disease is unpredictable, studying and working on homework well in advance of the deadline is a necessity to maintain good grades.
Before the semester begins, visit the health center and your academic advisor to discuss the process of reporting the headache and migraine attacks. Notifying the health staff, academic advisor and professors ahead of time will make them much more likely to work with you should you become ill.
College is an incredible experience, but it can be difficult to manage all the new responsibility. Keeping a headache diary, creating a plan and being proactive can go a long way towards minimizing the impact of migraine and headache.
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