Feasibility and effectiveness of an integrated cognitive behavioral treatment to address psychological distress in a stroke self-management program
This is a case-study of a Hispanic man who had an ischemic stroke and was participating in a stroke self-management (SSM) program. He was identified as having comorbid symptoms of anxiety and depression that were not addressed by the SSM program and was subsequently enrolled in the Enhance Psychological Coping after Stroke (EPiC) program. EPiC is a telephone-based cognitive-behavioral treatment integrating mental and stroke-related behavioral health principles that is delivered concurrent to the SSM program. Over the course of six sessions, the participant learned psychological symptom and behavioral monitoring, thought stopping, cognitive restructuring, deep breathing, calming thoughts, social support, and problem-solving skills aimed at overcoming barriers to engagement in behaviors taught in the SSM program. Client-centered psychological distress and behavioral health treatment goals were integrated into each session. The client demonstrated reduced anxiety symptoms and improved stroke SSM behaviors at 6, 12, and 18 weeks after the initiation of treatment. He also improved in disability, social role limitations, quality of life, and stroke self-efficacy at 18 weeks following the initiation of treatment. This case study demonstrates that incorporating an integrated cognitive behavioral treatment to an SSM program can be beneficial for decreasing psychological symptom barriers to SSM, which may reduce the risk of stroke recurrence.