It is currently estimated that nearly 500,000 adolescents in the United States suffer with chronic daily headaches (CDH). Treatment of chronic daily headaches (CDH) in adolescents is one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers as they cause significant morbidity in adolescents if not treated timely and effectively. Because of the burden of chronic daily headaches, adolescents frequently exhaust their emotional and functional coping abilities and experience elevated depressive symptoms, anxiety, and withdrawal from school and other social activities. Furthermore, the risk of suicide is significantly greater in adolescents with CDH compared to teens with no headache history. Despite the substantial morbidities and mortality associated with CDH, there is a paucity of intervention studies to improve outcome in this high-risk population of teens. Thus, there is an urgent need for theory-based intervention studies that focus exclusively on adolescents with CDH to improve their emotional and functional coping outcomes, including frequency and severity of their headaches, headache disability, and depressive and anxiety symptoms. Cognitive Behavior Theory complements the Psychological Theory of Stress and Coping as theoretical underpinnings for the proposed reproducible intervention, comprised of 7 education and cognitive-behavioral skills building sessions designed to enhance coping outcomes in adolescents with CDH.
The aims of the proposed pilot study with 50 adolescents who have CDH and mild to moderate depressive symptoms are to: 1) assess the feasibility and acceptability of an educational cognitive behavioral skills building intervention with teens who have CDH, 2) test the preliminary effects of an educational cognitive skills building intervention on headache disability, emotional coping (i.e. depressive and anxiety symptoms), functional coping (i.e. involvement in school, work, and other age appropriate activities)) and, 3) describe the relationship among study variables. This is the first study in a program of research designed to improve the health outcomes of adolescents with CDH.
Treatment of chronic daily headaches in adolescents is one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers and is a burden for teens as they cause significant morbidity if not treated effectively and in a timely manner. Because of burden of chronic daily headaches, adolescents, oftentimes exhaust their emotional and functional coping abilities and may experience depressive symptoms, anxiety, and withdrawal from school and other social activities. Timely and effective management of chronic daily headaches in adolescents, especially those with depressive symptoms, is essential in order to decrease the risk of multiple adverse outcomes to include depression, anxiety, suicide and other behavioral manifestations.