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Neuromodulation Strategies for the Treatment of Depression
American Journal of Psychiatry  (IF18.112),  Pub Date : 2021-12-02, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2021.21101034
Susan K. Conroy, Paul E. Holtzheimer

For many decades, psychiatric treatment has been primarily guided by two major paradigms of psychopathology: a neurochemical paradigm leading to the development of medications and a psychological paradigm resulting in the development of psychotherapies. A third paradigm positing that psychiatric dysfunction results from abnormal communication within a network of brain regions that regulate mood, thought, and behavior has gained increased attention over the past several years and underlies the development of multiple neuromodulation and neurostimulation therapies. This neural circuit paradigm is not new. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was a common way of understanding psychiatric illness and led to several of our earliest somatic therapies. However, with the rise of effective medications and evidence-based psychotherapies, this paradigm went mostly dormant. Its recent reemergence resulted from a growing recognition that medications and psychotherapy leave many patients inadequately treated, along with technological advances that have revolutionized our ability to understand and modulate the neural circuitry involved in psychiatric disorders. In this overview, the authors review the history and current state of neuromodulation for psychiatric illness and specifically focus on these approaches as a treatment for depression, as this has been the primary indication for these interventions over time.