Homicidal ideation with intent during a manic episode triggered by antidepressant medication in a man with brain injury


  • The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.

Corresponding author: Marie-José Dealberto, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Ottawa Hospital General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Room 4422, Ottawa, ON K1H 8 L6, Canada. Fax: +1 613 739 9980; e-mail: dealbert@uottawa.ca


Background:  Mood disorders are more frequent after brain injury and both depressive and manic episodes are associated in these patients with an increased risk of aggression. Antidepressant medications are associated with a risk of manic induction.

Case report:  We describe a case of homicidal ideation with intent during the onset of a manic episode in a patient with prior brain injury on antidepressant medication at low dosage. The manic episode could have been secondary to brain injury and/or triggered by antidepressant medications. This case raises the possibility of the sensitizing role of brain injury for antidepressant-induced mania.

Conclusions:  Further studies are needed to assess the role of brain injury as a risk factor for antidepressant-induced mania. Physicians should be cautious when prescribing antidepressants to patients with prior brain injury and inform them and their relatives of the possibility of a switch into mania.