Neuromodulation in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Melisse Bais, Martijn Figee, Damiaan Denys

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Neuromodulation techniques in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involve electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and deep brain stimulation (DBS). This article reviews the available literature on the efficacy and applicability of these techniques in OCD. ECT is used for the treatment of comorbid depression or psychosis. One case report on tDCS showed no effects in OCD. Low-frequency TMS provides significant but mostly transient improvement of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. DBS shows a response rate of 60% in open and sham-controlled studies. In OCD, it can be concluded that DBS, although more invasive, is the most efficacious technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-413
Number of pages21
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Efficacy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Neuromodulation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Review
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)


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