Successful deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens in severe alcohol dependence is associated with changed performance monitoring

Addict Biol. 2011 Oct;16(4):620-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00337.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18.


Following recent advances in neuromodulation therapy for mental disorders, we treated one patient with severe alcohol addiction with deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Before and one year following the surgery, we assessed the effects of DBS within the NAc on the addiction as well as on psychometric scores and electrophysiological measures of cognitive control. In our patient, DBS achieved normalization of addictive behavior and craving. An electrophysiological marker of error processing (the error-related negativity) linked to anterior mid-cingulate cortex (aMCC) functioning was altered through DBS, an effect that could be reversed by periods without stimulation. Thus, this case supports the hypothesis that DBS of the NAc could have a positive effect on addiction trough a normalization of craving associated with aMCC dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Contingent Negative Variation / physiology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiopathology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted