Quantitative EEG findings in patients with acute, brief depression combined with other fluctuating psychiatric symptoms: a controlled study from an acute psychiatric department
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Psychiatry 2008, 8(89) 10.1186/1471-244X-8-89
Background: Patients with brief depressive episodes and concurrent rapidly fluctuating psychiatric symptoms do not fit current diagnostic criteria and they can be difficult to diagnose and treat in an acute psychiatric setting. We wanted to study whether these patients had signs of more epileptic or organic brain dysfunction than patients with depression without additional symptomatology. Methods: Sixteen acutely admitted patients diagnosed with a brief depressive episode as well as another concurrent psychiatric diagnosis were included. Sixteen patients with major depression served as controls. Three electroencephalographic studies (EEG) were visually interpreted and the background activity was also analysed with quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG). Results: The group with brief depression and concurrent symptoms had multiple abnormal features in their standard EEG compared to patients with major depression, but they did not show significantly more epileptiform activity. They also had significantly higher temporal QEEG delta amplitude and interhemispheric temporal delta asymmetry. Conclusion: Organic brain dysfunction may be involved in the pathogenesis of patients with brief depressive episodes mixed with rapidly fluctuating psychiatric symptoms. This subgroup of depressed patients should be investigated further in order to clarify the pathophysiology and to establish the optimal evaluation scheme and treatment in an acute psychiatric setting.