Personalized Medicine in ADHD and Depression: Use of Pharmaco-EEG

  • Martijn ArnsEmail author
  • Sebastian Olbrich
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 21)


This chapter summarises recent developments on personalised medicine in psychiatry with a focus on ADHD and depression and their associated biomarkers and phenotypes. Several neurophysiological subtypes in ADHD and depression and their relation to treatment outcome are reviewed. The first important subgroup consists of the ‘impaired vigilance’ subgroup with often-reported excess frontal theta or alpha activity. This EEG subtype explains ADHD symptoms well based on the EEG Vigilance model, and these ADHD patients responds well to stimulant medication. In depression this subtype might be unresponsive to antidepressant treatments, and some studies suggest these depressive patients might respond better to stimulant medication. Further research should investigate whether sleep problems underlie this impaired vigilance subgroup, thereby perhaps providing a route to more specific treatments for this subgroup. Finally, a slow individual alpha peak frequency is an endophenotype associated with treatment resistance in ADHD and depression. Future studies should incorporate this endophenotype in clinical trials to investigate further the efficacy of new treatments in this substantial subgroup of patients.


ADHD Depression QEEG Personalised medicine Phenotype Biomarker 



This work has been adapted and updated from the PhD thesis: ‘Personalized medicine in ADHD and Depression: A quest for EEG treatment predictors’ by Martijn Arns.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Research Institute BrainclinicsNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department for Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniverstiy LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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