Deep brain stimulation for bipolar disorder-review and outlook

CNS Spectr. 2017 Jun;22(3):254-257. doi: 10.1017/S1092852915000577. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


Research on deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders has established preliminary efficacy signals for treatment-resistant depression. There are only few studies on DBS that included patients suffering from bipolar disorder. This article gives an overview of these studies concerning DBS targets, antidepressant efficacy, and the occurrence of manic/hypomanic symptoms under stimulation. First, promising results show that all patients experienced significant improvement in depressive symptomatology. In a single case, hypomanic symptoms occurred, but they could be resolved by adjusting stimulation parameters. Furthermore, this article highlights important clinical differences between unipolar and bipolar depression that have to be considered throughout the course of treatment.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; deep brain stimulation; medial forebrain bundle; slMFB; treatment-resistant depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / trends*
  • Humans