Medical interventions are usually categorized as “invasive” when they involve piercing the skin or inserting an object into the body. Beyond this standard definition, however, there is little discussion of the concept of invasiveness in the medical literature, despite evidence that the term is used in ways that do not reflect the standard definition of medical invasiveness. We interviewed psychiatrists, patients with depression, and members of the public without depression to better understand their views on the invasiveness of several psychiatric electroceutical interventions (treatments that involve electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain) for the treatment of depression. Our study shows that people recognize several kinds of invasiveness: physical, emotional, and lifestyle. In addition, several characteristics of therapies influence how invasive they are perceived to be; these include the perceived capacity of an intervention to result in harm; how localized the effects of the intervention are; the amount of control retained by the person receiving the intervention; how permanent its effects are perceived as being; and how familiar it seemed to participants. Our findings contribute to a small literature on the concept of invasiveness, which emphasizes that categorizing an intervention as invasive, or as noninvasive, evokes a variety of other normative considerations, including the potential harm it poses and how it compares to other potential therapies. It may also draw attention away from other salient features of the intervention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes