Headaches in Teens During Pandemic Tied to Depression, Anxiety

Among teens with headache, 27 percent reported worsening of headaches, while 10 percent had new onset of headache
a girl with a headache pain
a girl with a headache pain

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FRIDAY, July 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Among adolescents, new-onset and worsened headaches during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with significantly higher depression and general anxiety scores, according to a study presented at the annual Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, held from June 25 to 28 in Vienna.

Ayşe Nur Özdag Acarli, M.D., from Ermenek State Hospital in Karaman, Turkey, and colleagues examined the long-term impact of the pandemic on headache in 851 adolescents aged 10 to 18 years. The presence and features of headaches, academic performance, exposure to COVID-19, and exposure to electronics were explored.

The researchers found that headache frequency was 89 percent (756/851 participants). Of those with headache, 10 percent reported new-onset headache, while 27, 3, and 61 percent reported worsened, improved, and stable headache, respectively. Reductions in school effort and student achievement were more often reported for those with worsened and new-onset headache. Compared to those with stable and improved headache, those with worsened and new-onset headache had significantly higher depression and general anxiety scores. Compared to the stable group, the worsened group had significantly higher coronavirus anxiety scores. Significant correlations were seen for headache frequency and severity with age, depression, and anxiety.

"Although earlier studies reported that young people were having fewer headaches due to the closure of schools in the early weeks and months of COVID-19, this longer-term study has found the stresses and pressures of the pandemic eventually took their toll," Acarli said in a statement.

The study received support from the Global Migraine and Pain Society.

Abstract No. EPO-070

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