Mumbai, Oct 1, 2013 : Mr. Benjamin Ward, a 26 year old gentleman, from Sydney, Australia, who was suffering from severe depression with suicidal thoughts, has undergone ‘Deep Brain Stimulation’ a depression surgery at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai on 25th September 2013. Dr Paresh Doshi, Director of Neurosurgery and Dr Amit Desai, Consultant Psychiatrist, shared their experience of this path breaking depression surgery.

Benjamin was born a healthy baby, was socially active and comes from a happy family.

Symptoms of Benjamin’s disease

His symptoms of depression first appeared after his return from China where he went along with a Church mission which built and maintained orphanages. While in China, he noticed that he became overly tired and tearful, and had to return home earlier than planned.

Following this, he was alright for one year, after which, he had frequent episodes of depression. He used to cry at work and had suicidal thoughts of crashing his car. He lost interest in work and quit his job. He felt like a robot. He also had increased worries and developed disturbances in sleep at night.Benjamin consulted a psychiatrist who is still treating him, tried several drugs at full dose and for sufficient periods of time but most showed only initial benefits [these drugs included Mirtazapine, Lithium, Quetiapine, Valdoxan and Methylphenidate]. He also suffered from side effects of some drugs.When drugs failed, he was advised electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). He took several cycles of ECT and even transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but all resulted in little benefits. Having failed medications and other alternate treatments for years, Benjamin was desperate for relief. After extensive research, he found that Dr. Paresh Doshi had successfully performed DBS for several treatment resistant conditions.

“On detailed review, we found that Benjamin was suffering from treatment resistant major depressive disorder. We felt that he was an ideal candidate for area 25 DBS which is presently being done only in a few selected centers all over the world. Benjamin’s reports revealed that he is suffering from severe grade depression”, said Dr Paresh Doshi, Director of Neurosurgery, Jaslok Hospital & Medical Research Centre.

Dr. Doshi discussed the case in a Joint Meeting attended by two psychiatrists, two neurosurgeons and a Neurologist. All of them opined that he is an ideal candidate for DBS as he had tried all the available medications and other therapies. The same was discussed with his relatives and they readily agreed.