Ethische Aspekte Der Tiefen Hirnstimulation in Der Therapie Psychiatrischer Erkrankungen
Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie 2010 May; 78(5): 269-78
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is currently being tested as a possible treatment for treatment-refractory psychiatric disorders. Besides the hope set on this new therapeutic approach of DBS, there are at the same time doubts concerning the ethical acceptability in the treatment of individuals suffering from mental disorders. Taking the therapeutic benefit of DBS into account, the manuscript analyses ethical aspects of DBS application in psychiatry. In particular, possible effects on the patient's personality and self-determination are scrutinized. It is shown that personality changes may either occur as unintended and potentially ethically troublesome side effects or may even be intended as legitimate therapy goals. The patient's self-determination may be both, endangered and supported by DBS. The ethical assessment of DBS considers therapeutic benefits, the method's minimal invasiveness and reversibility on the one hand, as well as surgery-related risks of DBS treatment, an insufficient data-base due to currently missing long-term studies and the possibility of as yet inestimable, potentially long-term effects on the patient's personality and self-determination on the other hand. The ethical balancing arrives at the conclusion that DBS may be considered as ultima ratio in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and should preferably be combined with psychosocial measures. Furthermore, a prospective scientific evaluation of the procedure should include a systematic investigation of personality changes.
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