DBS For OCD: A Treatment For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Did you know that there is a treatment for an obsessive-compulsive disorder that involves the use of DBS? DBS, or deep brain stimulation, is an effective treatment for OCD. This is great news for those who are struggling with this condition! In this blog post, we will discuss DBS for OCD and how it works. We will also talk about the benefits of this treatment and who may be a good candidate for it.

What Is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition that affects about 2.2 million adults in the United States alone. It is characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, as well as behaviors that are repetitively performed to reduce anxiety related to the obsessions. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and have a significant impact on one’s quality of life. Here are some common obsessions and compulsions that individuals may experience with OCD:

  • Obsessions: Fear of contamination and germs, thoughts of harming oneself or others, excessive concern about orderliness and symmetry, unwanted sexual or religious thoughts, and a need for exactness.
  • Compulsions: Excessive cleaning and/or hand-washing, checking and re-checking things multiple times to make sure they are done correctly, counting rituals, ordering and arranging items in a precise manner.

What Is DBS Or Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an FDA-approved treatment for a variety of neurological disorders, including OCD. During this procedure, electrodes are placed in the brain and connected to a stimulator device that sends electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain thought to be involved with controlling OCD symptoms. The goal of DBS is to decrease activity in these regions and thus reduce obsessive thoughts or compulsions.

Can DBS Cure OCD?

According to results from clinical trials and personal accounts, DBS for OCD can be an effective treatment. It is often a better option than traditional treatments such as medications or psychotherapy. It decreases the signs of OCD by around 60% and can even lead to complete remission in some individuals. However, it is important to note that since every individual is different, no single treatment will work for everyone, and there is no guarantee that DBS will cure OCD in all cases.

Benefits Of Deep Brain Stimulation For OCD

Benefits Of Deep Brain Stimulation For OCD

There are various benefits associated with DBS for OCD, some of them are:

  • One of the most important is that it can be an effective treatment for people who haven’t responded to traditional therapies and medications.
  • DBS has been found to provide sustained symptom relief over time, as opposed to other treatments which may only result in temporary improvements.
  • In addition, because this procedure does not require the use of medications, it eliminates the potential side effects associated with them.
  • It can also be used to treat the underlying neurological cause of OCD, instead of simply masking the symptoms.
  • Finally, DBS is a minimally invasive procedure with low risk and significant potential for long-term improvement.
  • This treatment assures the highest success rate and has been proven to positively impact the quality of life of those with severe OCD.
  • It can also be used to treat comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, which often accompany OCD.

What Are The Side Effects Of DBS?

The Side Effects Of DBS

Certain side effects may be associated with DBS for OCD which are:

  • These include headaches, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, dizziness, and temporary changes in mood or behavior.
  • Seizures, infections, headaches, confusion, and other neurological complications may also occur.
  • The stimulator device can also be associated with skin irritation or infection at the implant sites.
  • Hard to concentrate, stroke, speech disturbances, and increased thoughts of suicide or self-harm have also been reported. It is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and potential side effects associated with DBS before undergoing this procedure.

In addition, some people may experience a decrease in motor skills or even seizures. It is important to talk to your doctor before considering this procedure so they can evaluate any potential risks and make sure it is the best option for you.

How Is DBS Performed?

DBS for OCD is typically performed in a hospital setting under the supervision of a neurologist. The patient will be placed under anesthesia and monitored closely throughout the procedure. During DBS, the electrodes are surgically implanted into targeted areas of the brain that have been identified through imaging tests. Once the electrodes are inserted, they are connected to a stimulator that sends electrical impulses to these areas. This can help to reduce symptoms associated with OCD by regulating abnormal activity in specific regions of the brain.

How Severe OCD Must Be Considered For DBS?

OCD condition must be choric, severe, and refractory to other treatments for a patient to be considered for DBS therapy. Additionally, the patient must also be evaluated by an OCD-specialized psychiatrist or psychologist. For treatment before they can even be considered as a candidate.

What Is The Success Rate Of DBS In OCD?

Around 95% of patients who receive DBS for OCD report significant improvements in their symptoms. However, it is important to note that like any other medical procedure, results may vary from person to person. Additionally, the effects of DBS can take up to six months to become noticeable.

How Long Does DBS Treatment Last?

DBS treatment can last anywhere from 10-15 years, depending on the individual. The electrodes and stimulator device will need to be replaced periodically as they may become damaged or malfunction over time. Additionally, patients should continue to receive regular follow-up care in order to monitor any changes in their symptoms and make necessary adjustments to their stimulation settings.

Does DBS Cause Personality Changes?

Some studies have found that DBS can cause personality changes in some patients. This is usually attributed to the fact that the stimulation affects areas of the brain involved in emotions, cognition, and behaviors. However, these changes are usually minor and the majority of patients report no change in their personality after undergoing DBS treatment.


Deep brain stimulation for OCD is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals. For people who have not responded to other forms of therapy or medication. Although it does come with some risks, the overall success rate of DBS for OCD is very high and many people report significant improvements in their symptoms. With proper monitoring and follow-up care, DBS can provide long-term symptom relief and improved quality of life.

Take care, and don’t forget that you are not alone! OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.