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Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of Depression

Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of DepressionOur friends over at The People’s Pharmacy, Joe & Terry Graedon, have a long-running radio show (or podcast, if you prefer) that is one of the best-kept secrets in natural and alternative treatments in health. They also cover mental health topics, and this past week’s topic was alternative treatments for depression (alternatives to regular antidepressant medications or psychotherapy).

One of the more promising alternative treatments for chronic depression is ketamine, a medication that’s been around a long time and used as an FDA-approved anesthetic and pain medication. As offered today however, ketamine is a high-cost infusion treatment for depression that requires additional refresher courses every few weeks.

Outside of ketamine, there are many other self-help methods to help with depressive symptoms — all of which are covered in this great, must-listen-to episode.

In this episode, they talk about alternative treatments in depression. Their guests are Elizabeth Ballard, PhD, an NIMH research fellow and clinical psychologist working in experimental therapeutics and pathophysiology, and Stephen S. Ilardi, PhD, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas.

Dr. Ballard speaks first about the promising research she authored on ketamine as a new treatment for depression. Some clinicians have taken this initial research are started clinics to use ketamine, off-label (e.g., it is not FDA-approved to treat depression).

Each infusion session takes about an hour and a half to complete1, with most patients undergoing 5 or 6 initial infusions within a 12-day period to begin. These treatments are not covered by health insurance, meaning you’ll be paying their significant cost — $500 and up, per infusion — out of your own pocket.2

You’ll also need followup, refresher infusions on a regular basis. These tend to happen every 3 to 4 weeks.

Most of the episode, however, is taken up with a discussion with Dr. Ilardi, who speaks on the many alternative self-help treatments. He speaks about how everyday things like nutrition, sleep, social connection and exercise can have a significant impact impact on our mood.

If you suffer from depression (or know someone who does), it’s an hour well-worth your time.

Listen to the podcast now:
Intriguing Approaches to Overcoming Depression

Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of Depression


  1. The infusion itself takes less than an hour, but you’ll be kept in the office for an additional half hour to 45 minutes, as some of the negative side effects of the ketamine infusion — depersonalization or dissociation — wear off. []
  2. Yes, that means in a 2-week period, you may face a bill of $2500 or higher. []

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 Mar 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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