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AJOB Neuroscience.

Patients’ Beliefs About Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Deep brain stimulation is an experimental procedure for treatment-resistant depression. Some results show promise, but blinded trials had limited success. Ethical questions center on vulnerability: especially on whether depressed patients can weigh the risks and benefits effectively, whether depression causes “desperation,” and whether media portrayals create unrealistic hopes. We interviewed 24 psychiatric inpatients with treatment-resistant depression, qualitatively analyzing their comments. Most had minimal interest in deep brain stimulators. Some might consider them if their depression worsened, if alternatives were exhausted, or if the evidence were stronger. Fears focused on the surgery, adverse effects, and the novelty of the device. Patients felt the depression interfered with their ability to weigh the risks and benefits. Patients seemed highly attuned to the risks, and were skeptical that the treatment would be effective. We conclude that ethical concerns about vulnerability remain, yet patients with treatment-resistant depression were thoughtful and cautious about trying a novel therapy.

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Volume 9, Issue 4
December 2018

Target Articles.

Patients’ Beliefs About Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression Ryan E. Lawrence, Catharine R. Kaufmann, Ravi B. DeSilva & Paul S. Appelbaum