Risk Ahead: Actigraphy-Based Early-Warning Signals of Increases in Depressive Symptoms During Antidepressant Discontinuation

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Antidepressant discontinuation increases the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. In a repeated single-subject design, we tested whether transitions in depression were preceded by increases in actigraphy-based critical-slowing-down-based early-warning signals (EWSs; variance, kurtosis, autocorrelation), circadian-rhythm-based indicators, and decreases in mean activity levels. Four months of data from 16 individuals with a transition in depression and nine without a transition in depression were analyzed using a moving-window method. As expected, more participants with a transition showed at least one EWS (50% true positives; 22.2% false positives). Increases in circadian rhythm variables (25.0% true positives vs. 44.4% false positives) and decreases in activity levels (37.5% true positives vs. 44.4% false positives) were more common in participants without a transition. None of the tested risk indicators could confidently predict upcoming transitions in depression, but some evidence was found that critical-slowing-down-based EWSs were more common in participants with a transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-953
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number5
Early online date25-Mar-2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2023


  • actigraphy
  • antidepressant discontinuation
  • early warning signals
  • personalized psychiatry
  • repeated single-subject design

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