Stimulating the brain with electrical or magnetic currents provides alternative methods of treating devastating psychiatric illnesses. In psychiatry, the primary focus of neuromodulation is treatment resistant depression, or 'TRD.'
There are now several methods in regular use or development that use devices to modulate brain activity, often referred to as 'neuromodulation.' This includes one of the oldest treatments in psychiatry -- electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and some of the newest. In 2005, the FDA approved Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for severe depression that does not respond to conventional treatment with drugs and therapy. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) was approved by the FDA in 2008 for the treatment of major depression that has not responded to one course of antidepressant treatment.
Studies are underway with techniques such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) in TRD, and treatment of other psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, and chronic pain syndromes, are also under study.
The Psychiatric Neuromodulation Program is a multi-disciplinary group that includes psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, psychologists, nurse practitioners and social workers. Its mission it to provide state of the art clinical neuromodulation therapy, and conducts active, multi-disciplinary research in neuromodulation, seeking a better understanding of psychiatric illness and better treatments.
Click on individual neuromodulation clinical treatment options to learn more about the individual programs, including how to make a referral for treatment.