Rebound of affective symptoms following acute cessation of deep brain stimulation in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Pieter Ooms, Matthijs Blankers, Martijn Figee, Mariska Mantione, Pepijn Van Den Munckhof, P. Richard Schuurman, Damiaan Denys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is regarded as an effective way to treat refractory obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD). Little is known about the effects of DBS cessation following a longer period of stimulation.

Objective: To determine the relapse and rebound effects of psychiatric symptoms, and their impact on Quality of Life (QoL) following acute cessation of DBS in OCD patients.

Methods: We included 16 out of 32 patients who were treated with DBS between April 2005 and January 2011 at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam. After treatment for at least one year, patients entered a 1-week phase in which DBS was switched off. We evaluated psychiatric symptoms and QoL at three time points: before DBS surgery (pre-DBS), following at least one year of DBS treatment (DBS-on) and following 1 week of DBS off (DBS-off). Psychiatric symptoms were assessed with the Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive disorder scale (Y-BOCS), the Hamilton anxiety rating scale (HAM-A) and the Hamilton depression rating scale (HAM-D). QoL was assessed using the World Health Organization QOL scale (WHOQOL-Bref).

Results: Switching from DBS-on to DBS-off, Y-BOCS scores increased with 50%, HAM-A scores with 80% and HAM-D scores with 83%. In the DBS-off period, HAM-A and HAM-D scores exceeded pre-surgery levels with approximately 40%, suggesting a rebound phenomenon. Furthermore, a deterioration of physical and psychological QoL to levels comparable with pre-surgery was found during DBS-off.

Conclusion: Acute DBS cessation causes a relapse of obsessions and compulsions and a rebound of anxiety and depression. Additionally, improvements on QoL disappear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-731
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Quality of life
  • Rebound


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