Frequently Asked Questions

18. What other brain stimulation therapies are used?

Other more recently introduced types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat severe depression include repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). The non-invasive approach (TMS) and the surgical approach (VNS) have FDA approval for use in depression that does not respond to medication. However, these methods have not achieved widespread use.

A more invasive approach called deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which electrodes are implanted at specific locations in the brain, is now approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are studying DBS is as a possible treatment for depression that does not respond to more conventional approaches.