Effectiveness of deep brain stimulation in patients with depression
Depression is a disorder of the brain, characterized by persistent low mood and loss of interest and enjoyment in activities that are normally found pleasurable. Yearly, over one million people in the United States alone attempt suicide as a result of depression.
The most common form of treating depression is pharmacological, with drugs such as Prozac being prescribed. However, these have side effects including increased risk of suicide, reduced sexual desire, fatigue, insomnia, constipation, and what is known as “Prozac poop” or “Prozac shits.”
In recent years, however, a new treatment has been emerging from the shadows: deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS involves implanting an electrode into the brain and turning it on so that electrical current from a power source activates it. This aims to increase neurotransmission of certain chemicals in order to relieve symptoms. In patients with depression treated with this method, it was found that DBS improved mood significantly more than those who were treated with placebos (those who did not receive DBS).