BMJ Case Reports 2009; doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2008.0539
  • Novel treatment (new drug/intervention; established drug/procedure in new situation)

Remission of alcohol dependency following deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens: valuable therapeutic implications?

  1. Jens Kuhn1,
  2. Doris Lenartz2,
  3. Wolfgang Huff1,
  4. Sun-Hee Lee1,
  5. Athanasios Koulousakis2,
  6. Joachim Klosterkoetter1,
  7. Volker Sturm2
  1. 1
    University of Cologne, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Kerpener Strasse 62, Cologne, 50924, Germany
  2. 2
    University of Cologne, Stereotaxy and Funtional Neurosurgery, Kerpener Strasse 62, Cologne, 50924, Germany
  1. Jens.Kuhn{at}
  • Published 23 January 2009


Chronic consumption of alcohol represents one of the greatest health and socioeconomic problems worldwide. We report on a 54-year-old patient with a severe anxiety disorder and secondary depressive disorder in whom bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus accumbens was carried out. Despite the absence of desired improvement in his primary disorder, we observed a remarkable although not primarily intended alleviation of the patient’s comorbid alcohol dependency. Our case report demonstrates the extremely effective treatment of alcohol dependency by means of DBS of the nucleus accumbens and may reveal new prospects in overcoming therapy resistance in dependencies in general.


  • Competing interests: none.

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