SSRIs: Sharp Drop in Brain Activity + Worsening Depression & Suicidality

hile antidepressant medications have proven to be beneficial in helping people overcome majordepression, it has long been known that a small subset of individuals taking these drugs can actually experience a worsening of mood, and even thoughts of suicide. No clinical test currently exists to make this determination, and only time usually weeks can tell before a psychiatrist knows whether a patient is getting better or worse.

Now, UCLA researchers have developed a non-invasive biomarker, or indicator, that may serve as a type of early warning system.

Reporting in the April edition of the peer-reviewed journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Aimee Hunter, an assistant research psychologist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and colleagues report that by using quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG), a non-invasive measurement of electrical activity in the brain, they were able to observe a sharp reduction of activity in a specific brainregion in individuals who proved susceptible to thoughts of suicide within 48 hours of the start of treatment.

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