The symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) include a depressed mood most of the day (nearly every day), loss of interest in daily activities, weight gain or diet independent weight loss, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt (as determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5). A longlasting course characterizes this mood disorder, which in many cases turns into a chronic problem. After a long history of describing, explaining and treating this disorder, patients and their doctors are still facing the challenges of beating this disease, despite research efforts.
MDD is commonly treated with antidepressant medication (AD) or psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy. Clinical efficacy rates unfortunately only reach 37% remission after a first AD prescription, with declining remission rates after each consecutive AD trial. The large (and continuously growing) prevalence of MDD in the world is disconcerting: 183 million people had MDD in 2005, up to 216 million in 2015. The development of new AD medication is subjected to suspended research and development budgets for central nervous system drugs, including ADs. Since a growing group of people affected by this disease, new approaches to the treatment of MDD are needed to serve this group.
With the aim to improve treatment outcome in depressed patients, this book describes the first steps towards the implementation of an EEG biomarker informed protocol. We zoom in on detailed characteristics of biomarkers that proved to be promising. We attempt to utilize automated processes for fast, professionalized EEG assessments. We developed a protocol in which all knowledge on biomarker informed AD prescription was implemented, and performed a feasibility trial. We also compare protocol outcomes with the results of a control group.