, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 473–481 | Cite as

Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment Resistant Depression: Postoperative Feelings of Self-Estrangement, Suicide Attempt and Impulsive–Aggressive Behaviours

  • Frederic Gilbert
Original Paper


The goal of this article is to shed light on Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) postoperative suicidality risk factors within Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) patients, in particular by focusing on the ethical concern of enrolling patient with history of self-estrangement, suicide attempts and impulsive–aggressive inclinations. In order to illustrate these ethical issues we report and review a clinical case associated with postoperative feelings of self-estrangement, self-harm behaviours and suicide attempt leading to the removal of DBS devices. Could prospectively identifying and excluding patients with suicidality risk factors from DBS experimental trials—such as history of self-estrangement, suicide attempts and impulsive–aggressive inclinations—lead to minimizing the risk of suicidality harm?


Deep Brain Stimulation Eligibility Exclusion Experimental trial Feelings of self-estrangement Impulsive–aggressive disorder Suicide Treatment Resistant Depression 



Thanks to RCH, Eliza Goddard and Susan Dodds for enlightening discussions which were invaluable in drafting the argument of this paper. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES). CE0561616.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ethics & Bionics/Nanomedicine, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES)University of TasmaniaTasmaniaAustralia

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