In a recently published study on migraines in children, scientists focused on elementary-school aged children suffering from chronic headaches, including migraine headaches and tension-type headaches. Their findings indicate a stronger propensity for behavior issues when migraines occur in children, versus other forms of pediatric headaches.
The Brazilian study on migraines in children focused on nearly 2,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11, and is the largest study of its kind to find direct correlations between emotional problems such as anxiety and depression and chronic migraines in children.
Behavioral and emotional symptoms and primary headaches in children – A population-based study was published in the journal Cephalagia.
Like adults, children who suffer from chronic tension-type headaches or migraines are more likely to also suffer from comorbid emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, children who experience frequent migraines may also exhibit signs of attention disorders and social detachment.
Back to School means Back to Headaches for Child Migraineurs
In the study on migraines and child behavior, researchers noted an increase in behavioral and emotional disorders in children with migraines, more so than with children who suffered chronic headaches caused by stress.
Behaviors tested include:
- Social problems
- Attention problems
Using headache questionnaires and a Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), scientists were able to determine the following results regarding behavior in children with migraines and tension headaches:
- For children with migraines or tension headaches, frequency of headaches directly correlated with abnormal behavior.
- More than 50% of the pediatric migraine sufferers tested exhibited internalizing (self-directed) emotional behaviors, versus 19% of children with stress headaches.
- Migraines in children were just as likely as stress headaches to trigger external behaviors, such as rule breaking and aggression.
- Children with migraines were more likely to have difficulty socializing than sufferers of tension-type headaches.
- Child migraine sufferers were also more likely to suffer emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity than other headache sufferers.
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