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Psychiatry - TMS

About Depression

Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 14 million American adults every year.

It results in a persistent state of sadness that may interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health. Symptoms may include:

  • Lack of interest in or pleasure from activities typically enjoyed
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness or guilt
  • Changes in sleep habits and energy levels
  • Significant weight gain or weight loss

While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, some do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate their side effects. For these patients, TMS Therapy offers an alternate treatment method for depression.

About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) at Sibley Hospital

TMS Therapy is a short outpatient procedure which uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the area of the brain thought to control mood. TMS Therapy is performed at Sibley under supervision while the patient remains awake and alert.

The treating clinician positions a treatment coil over the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved with mood regulation. Through the treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. When these pulses are administered in rapid succession, they can produce longer lasting changes in brain activity.

TMS has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated procedure that can be an effective treatment for patients with depression who have not benefited from antidepressant medications or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications due to side-effects. As of September, 2014, Sibley hospital has begun providing treatment via a new type of TMS technology, called Deep TMS (or dTMS). This system has recently been approved by the FDA for clinical use with patients, and requires shorter and less frequent treatment sessions than with earlier forms of TMS. dTMS sessions last 20 minutes, and are given daily over 4-5 weeks. Sibley Hospital is one of very few centers in the Washington, D.C. area that provides treatment for depression with dTMS.

dTMS therapy is not appropriate for all patients. Before scheduling you for treatment, you must first be evaluated by one of our TMS psychiatrists to determine if dTMS would be safe and appropriate for you.

To be evaluated for outpatient dTMS treatment or to learn more please contact Michael Goodman, LICSW, program director, at 202-537-4929 or by email at

More information about dTMS is available online at

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