Medication Overuse Headache Is NOT Addiction!

ThumbDown I don't like to write about articles that others have written about Migraines or headaches when it's to say that the articles are bad. I prefer to share good articles with accurate and useful information. An article on Suite 101 that was pointed out to me by a Migraineur brings me to make an exception to my preferences today.

Geraldine Ketchum has published an article on Suite 101 entitled "Migraines and Rebound Headaches." Medication Overuse Headache (MOH), aka rebound, is an important issue to those of us with Migraines or other headache disorders. Good articles about MOH are always in demand. However, Ketchum's article is fraught with misinformation, misinterpretations, and errors.

Rather than going into all of them, I'm going to focus on this statement:

"This type of addiction is neither a moral nor a psychological issue. It is a pain issue. But once the body has gotten used to having a drug, it will not voluntarily give it up. It wants more of the wonderful relief that a lack of pain brings – that sense of being lighter and able to think again."

Addiction? Let me make this very clear:

Medication overuse headache is NOT
a form of addiction!

Ketchum needs to do some research into what addiction is. It's different from dependence and tolerance, but too many people make the mistake that Ketchum has made -- writing without learning the difference FIRST. I'm going to quote from an excellent article, "Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence," by Karen Lee Richards.

"Addiction is a neurobiological disease that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. It is characterized by one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Poor control over drug use
  • Compulsive drug use
  • Continued use of a drug despite physical, mental and/or social harm
  • A craving for the drug"
"Physical dependence  is the body's adaptation to a particular drug. In other words, the individual's body gets used to receiving regular doses of a certain medication. When the medication is abruptly stopped or the dosage is reduced too quickly, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms."
"Tolerance is a condition that occurs when the body adapts or gets used to a particular medication, lessening its effectiveness. When that happens, it is necessary to either increase the dosage or switch to another type of medication in order to maintain pain relief."

Wondering what qualifies Ketchum to write about Migraine and other headache disorders, I followed the link to her biography. She's a librarian with degrees in English language and literature and library and information science. I see no medical background or any other information in her bio that would indicate her possessing knowledge of or experience with Migraines or headaches. Her background would indicate, however, an ability to research topics well. I find it disturbing that she didn't research this article better.

Myths and misunderstandings about Migraine abound. When an article such as this one is published, it does nothing to rid us of these myths and misunderstandings. It does the opposite; it perpetuates them.

Additionally, Migraineurs bear enough burden from the stigma associated with Migraine. We don't need people publishing poorly researched and written articles that equate medication overuse headache with addiction.

Ms. Ketchum, if you happen to read this, I hope you'll research better before writing more about Migraines and headaches.

To anyone in a position of authority at Suite 101, I urge you to do more to verify the accuracy of articles published on your network. Review by physicians who specialize in the areas about which Suite 101 articles are written could prove helpful. Your slogan is, "Insightful writers, informed readers." Ketchum is hardly insightful when it comes to this topic, and reading this article will not lead to informed readers.


Ketchum, Geraldine. "Migraines and Rebound Heaaches." Suite 101. September 10, 2010.

Richards, Karen Lee. "Opioids: Addiction vs. Dependence." ChronicPainConnection. December 1, 2008.

Live well,



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© Teri Robert, 2010
Last updated September 20, 2010.

When It Seems Too Good to Be True: May 2010 Migraine & Headache Blog Carnival

BlogCarnival200 Welcome to the May 2010 Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival.

The Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival has been created to provide both Migraine and headache patients and people who blog about Migraines and headaches with opportunities to share ideas on topics of particular interest and importance to us.

The theme of the May carnival is "When it seems too good to be true." It's hosted this month by Diana Lee on her blog Somebody Heal Me.

Please take a few minutes to read this month's carnival, When It Seems Too Good to Be True.

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Last updated March 10, 2010

When a Migraine Treatment Seems Too Good to Be True

NoCure We've all seen them. Those sites or ads on the Internet that claim to be have THE answer to our Migraines... the promises of a "cure"... the promises of stopping Migraines "forever." We want to believe them. Some people are so desperate that they fall for the pitch and buy the product, the book, the e-book, and so on.

Don't. Yes, it's that simple. Don't fall for it. Save your money and your hope for real advice and treatments that stand a chance of working. Don't let the charlatans profit from our misery and our desperation.

Why do people make these claims and offer false hope? There are a number of reasons:

  1. A few have stumbled upon something that worked for them and misguidedly think it's the answer for everyone. Most of these people don't really understand Migraines. They may not even have had Migraines in the first place, and are sorely mistaken in their theories.
  2. Some have developed or know of something that's an extremely effective preventive, so in their minds, that's a "cure."
  3. Some are, quite bluntly, unscrupulous, unethical cretins out to make money any way they can, and think people who are ill make easy targets.

There's another scheme that runs rampant online too. It's the people who go around putting together Migraine information from a variety of sources, put it all together in a e-book, then sell it at outrageous prices to people trying to educate and help themselves. Don't fall for it. If the information in their little e-books were worth anything, they'd be able to sell it to a publisher and put out a legitimate book. The best example of this that I can think of is The Migraine Relief Guide. It's no longer even being sold by the deluded woman who put it together. Someone else bought it, and now they're offering affiliate deals where you can set up your own web site, sell it, and split the profits with the person who bought it from the original person. They're charging $27.00 for information that can be found on the Internet FREE. All they've done is put it together in one pdf document. Some of it's accurate information, some of it isn't. If you want to know more about this particular e-book, you can read my review. Yes, I bought it. I wanted to read and debunk it. And, I took advantage of their money-back guarantee and demanded a refund. Thankfully, I paid for it via PayPal. I had to file a complaint with them to get my refund.

The bottom line is that Migraine is a genetic neurological disease for which, at this time, there is no cure. Period. There are some excellent preventive agents that are the next best thing to a cure. For example, I now often go two or three months between Migraines instead of having several a week, and this is due to my preventive regimen, not some Internet "entrepreneur" who came up with a "cure."

Here's the truth: There are brilliant doctors and researchers who have devoted their careers entirely to searching for both effective treatments and a cure for this disease. They've made significant progress, but they have found neither a single treatment that works for everyone nor a cure for the disease.

Whatever you see online (or elsewhere) that's claimed to be a cure isn't. If it were, we'd be seeing it in news headlines everywhere. The person who developed it would win a Nobel Prize.

Fall back on the old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." If someone tells you they can cure your Migraines, run! Save your time, energy, money, and hope working on the best possible Migraine management regimen that you and your doctor can develop.

Live well,

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Last updated May 7, 2010

Bad Experience with "TheMigraineRelief"

Pouting_mimeOne of our forum members at MyMigraineConnection asked if anyone knew anything about and the "Guide" they're selling.

I didn't, so I went to the site to check it out. A woman named Elizabeth Hayden asks, "What If You Were Able To STOP Your Migraines Once And For All Without The Use Of Medications In A Very Simple And Effective Way? The truth about mysterious migraines has finally been exposed!"

Now, my theory on such web sites and claims is, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Still, I couldn't find anyone who knew anything about this woman, her web site, or her Migraine Relief Guide. So, I decided to spend the $37 to find out what this was all about. After all, this appears on the site regarding a guarantee:


Now, I'm not going to tell you what's in Ms. Hayden's Migraine Relief Guide because I don't want to get into an issue about her copyright or any related problems. Suffice it to say that it was 65 paqes of nothing I hadn't seen before, nothing to do me any good. You could go to and get a book that would do you a lot more good for a lot less money.

So, I've now emailed them, asking for a refund, as they guarantee. In fact, I've emailed them twice.

Well, Ms. Hayden? Where's my refund?

Stay tuned, readers. I'll keep you posted!

Live well,