Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Mental Illness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large fraction of patients with mental disorders obtain no relief from medications, psychotherapy, or noninvasive treatments. For these patients, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be an option. DBS is a surgical therapy that places electrodes precisely into specific brain structures (targets). It has evidence for clinical efficacy from open-label studies in obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depressive disorder. In both disorders, more than 50% of otherwise refractory patients obtain meaningful benefit. At the same time, DBS has not yet passed a large, well-controlled, multisite trial. This is in part because the devices are complex to program, such that many patients do not receive an adequate “therapy” dose. New technologies may overcome that complexity, either through precision mapping of a patient’s individual brain anatomy or by directly measuring the electrical activity of key brain structures and titrating DBS to change that activity. [Psychiatr Ann. 2022;52(7):283-287.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-287
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatric annals
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers UH3 NS100548, R01 MH119384, R01 MH124687, R01 MH123634, and R01 NS120851), the MnDRIVE Brain Conditions Program, and the University of Minnesota’s Medical Discovery Team on Addiction. Disclosure: Dr. Widge holds stock in Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Abbott, and has received device donations from Medtronic. Address correspondence to Alik S. Widge, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 2001 6th Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55454; email: doi:10.3928/00485713-20220621-02

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