Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2011;34:289-307. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-061010-113638.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*