Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders

Paul E. Holtzheimer, Helen S. Mayberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


Medications, psychotherapy, and other treatments are effective for many patients with psychiatric disorders. However, with currently available interventions, a substantial number of patients experience incomplete resolution of symptoms, and relapse rates are high. In the search for better treatments, increasing interest has focused on focal neuromodulation. This focus has been driven by improved neuroanatomical models of mood, thought, and behavior regulation, as well as by more advanced strategies for directly and focally altering neural activity. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is one of the most invasive focal neuromodulation techniques available; data have supported its safety and efficacy in a number of movement disorders. Investigators have produced preliminary data on the safety and efficacy of DBS for several psychiatric disorders, as well. In this review, we describe the development and justification for testing DBS for various psychiatric disorders, carefully consider the available clinical data, and briefly discuss potential mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-307
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Neuroscience
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Major depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Treatment-resistant depression


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