September 1986

Polysomnographic Findings in Recently Drug-Free and Clinically Remitted Depressed Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Affective Disorders Unit (Drs Rush, Giles, Schlesser, and Vasavada and Mr Carpenter) and the Department of Psychiatry (Drs Erman and Roffwarg) University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(9):878-884. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800090068009

• Thirteen patients were examined by sleep polysomnograph (PSG) and the dexamethasone suppression test when clinically depressed and later when clinically remitted for six months and no longer receiving antidepressant medication for two to five weeks. None of the PSG variables (rapid eye movement [REM] latency, total sleep time, stage 1 through 4 times, REM time, and REM densities in periods 1 through 3) was significantly changed between symptomatic depression and symptom remission. While symptomatic, 11 of 13 patients exhibited a reduced REM latency (65 minutes or less). After clinical remission, eight of the 11 continued to exhibit reduced REM latencies, whereas the dexamethasone suppression test tended to show nonsuppression only during clinical depression. These data represent either (1) longer-term (ie, slow to normalize) biologic consequences of a depressive episode or (2) biologic antecedents of clinical depression that may herald a return of the depression In Individuals vulnerable to recurrence. Whether PSG abnormalities identify clinically remitted patients who are prone to develop another depressive episode requires longitudinal follow-up studies.