Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain. In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration approved DBS as a treatment for essential tremor, Parkinson’s Disease in 2002, and Dystonia in 2003. It has also been used to treat chronic pain and major depression.
The procedures effects are said to be reversible since it changes brain activity in a controlled manner, however, there are proven potentials for serious neuropsychiatric complications and side effects including the possibility of apathy, hallucinations, compulsive gambling, hyper-sexuality, cognitive dysfunction, voyeurism , suicide, or even permanent personality changes.
I know what you are going to say next. The number of patients that actually fall to these complications are few compared to the number which benefit. Maybe so. I do not wish to deny this potential procedure for people suffering from essential tremor, Parkinson’s, Dystonia, or even true chronic pain.
However, I do believe that this type of procedure would have to be the ultimate last resort for people suffering from depression. To think that we are still sticking electrodes and probes into people’s brains to control emotional response sickens me. What happened to non-evasive, non-prescription medicine driven psychiatric care? What happened to the Anti-Psychiatry movement of the 1960’s? Did we lose the teachings of Michel Foucault, R.D. Laing, Thomas Szasz, and Franco Basaglia? Are we not heading back to a time when lobotomy was commonplace?
Now, if you think this opinion is the pinnacle of extremism, then you are telling me that every possible treatment has been explored to its fullest extent. I do not believe this has come close to being the truth as of yet within the realm of psychiatric medicine.
I have personally seen the permanent turn-around of many people’s psychiatric health through non-evasive means. I am not speaking of simple sorrows. I am talking about people with diagnosed major life-affecting depression. I am talking about people who have been on major psychiatric medicine. You know the kind I speak of…those prescriptions that make you walk like a zombie straight out of “The Serpent and the Rainbow” movie. I am talking about people currently within or that have spent time in Psychiatric institutions. These are people who must then go through appointment after appointment just to convince their doctor that it is OK to start cutting down their medicine.
Within the spiritual pursuits, we set out to replace confidence and positive possibility through the focused forward direction of a soul…no needles…no surgeries…no electrodes sticking into your brain. We affect life-lasting permanent self change through the teachings of the self and the totality (and your relation to each). This means that we enable the subject or client to self-replicate that positive existence for themselves. We need to stop giving up on people for the next and newest invasive possibility.
I believe that this is a much better alternative to sticking electrodes into your brain. Don’t you?
—— Erik Sudberg