Major depressive disorder is one of the most disabling and common diagnoses amongst psychiatric disorders, with a current worldwide prevalence of 5-10% of the general population and up to 20-25% for the lifetime period. Nowadays, conventional treatment includes psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy; however, more than 60% of the treated patients respond unsatisfactorily, and almost one fifth becomes refractory to these therapies at long-term follow-up. Growing social incapacity and economic burdens make the medical community strive for better therapies, with fewer complications. Various nonpharmacological techniques like electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, lesion surgery, and deep brain stimulation have been developed for this purpose. We reviewed the literature from the beginning of the twentieth century until July 2009 and described the early clinical effects and main reported complications of these methods.
- Major depressive disorder
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Vagus nerve stimulation
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Deep brain stimulation