Hallucinogens are illegal in the U.S., but for people who have headaches so painful they’re commonly referred to as “suicide headaches,” these drugs might be the only answer. New studies from Dr. John Halpern of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School reveal that the use of psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin (found in a type of mushroom) have helped many people suffering from cluster headaches, widely accepted as the most painful kind of headache. Dr. Halpern and his team were inspired by the Cluster Busters, a group of cluster headache sufferers determined to find a cure for their excruciating headaches who have turned to hallucinogens because they believe it’s currently the only hope. Dr. Halpern conducted a series of interviews with cluster headache sufferers and found out that these types of drugs made headache attacks less painful and/or less frequent for 41% of subjects, and ended cluster cycles altogether for 52%.

Many factors may contribute to the occurrence of migraine attacks. They are known as trigger factors and may include diet, sleep, activity, psychological issues as well as many other factors. The use of a diary to record events that may play a role in causing the headaches can be a useful tool for the patient and healthcare provider. Avoidance of identifiable trigger factors may reduce the number of headaches a patient experiences. Healthful lifestyles including regular exercise and avoidance of nicotine may also enhance migraine management. Non-pharmacological techniques for control of migraine are helpful to some patients. These include biofeedback, physical medicine, and counseling. These, as with most elements of migraine, need to be individualized to the patient.