Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 113
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825364

Actigraphy in patients with depression and schizophrenia concerning activity levels, sleep estimation and circadian rhythm

U Hemmeter 1, A Thum 1, L Hamark 1, A Bäcker 1, R Rocamora 1, T Penzel 2, JC Krieg 1
  • 1Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der Universitätsklinik Marburg, Marburg
  • 2Klinik für innere Medizin, Schwerpunkt Pneumologie, Schlafmedizinisches Labor, Universitätsklinikum Marburg, Marburg

Disturbances of the rest-activity rhythm and sleep are frequent in psychiatric patients.

A quantitative method for measuring both is provided by actigraphy.

Six inpatients, four with major depression and two with schizophrenia were included. All patients underwent 72-h actigraphic monitoring and were evaluated by a number of psychiatric rating scales. The same procedure was repeated after four weeks of treatment for the severely depressed patients.

Schizophrenic patients showed the highest night activity and the lowest day/night activity ratio with irregular activity levels during the day and more active phases also at night. Slightly depressed patients had higher day activity levels and a higher day/night activity ratio than the severely depressed (SD). After four weeks of treatment, the SD showed a increased day/night activity ratio suggesting a normalisation of circadian rhythm. Therefore, actigraphy seems to be a useful and easily applicable method to measure rest-activity rhythm disturbances in depressive and schizophrenic patients.