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How Deep Brain Stimulation Eases OCD

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Several centers in Europe and the United States now use DBS for psychiatric illnesses, said Figee.

Accessibility and insurance coverage vary greatly, although Medicaid sometimes covers it, said Goodman.

But choosing appropriate candidates for the procedure can be daunting, as they need to have failed multiple medications as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, said Snyder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment that helps patients try to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The patients also need to be free of other psychiatric disorders.

Although benefits appear to be long lasting, the procedure is not a cure, Snyder noted.

"It provides significant symptomatic benefits," he said. "It could mean the difference between being able to go out of the house and going to a job and being stuck in the house or an institution all the time."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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