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March 1968

REM Deprivation: II. The Effects on Depressed Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Drs. Vogel and Meyers), the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago (Dr. Traub), and the Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem, Israel (Dr. Ben-Horin). Dr. Traub is now at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah Medical School, Salt Lake City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(3):301-311. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740030045006

THE FINDINGS that schizophrenics are not psychologically harmed by rapid eye movement (REM) deprivation and that they respond physiologically to REM deprivation in the same way as nonschizophrenics1 dissuaded us from the prevailing view that REM deprivation is a causal factor in psychosis. As a result, we began to consider the possibility of other effects of REM deprivation, The present study was designed to explore the hypothesis that REM deprivation will relieve the symptoms of depression. Five lines of evidence led to this hypothesis. (1) The major chemical antidepressants (imipramine,2,3 amitriptyline hydrochloride [Elavil Hydrochloride] ,4 monoamine oxidase [MAO]5,6 inhibitors, and amphetamines)7 are potent REM deprivers. (2) Electroshock therapy (EST) ,8-10 an efficacious antidepressant, is a potent REM depriver. (3) Reserpine, which can induce depression, elevates REM time in man.4 Thus, these three findings suggest that a prolonged decrease of