The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 983: Intriguing Approaches to Overcoming Depression

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Nondrug approaches could replace or complement drug treatments for depression; one medication could lift severe depression within hours instead of weeks.
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Antidepressant medications have become part of popular culture ever since Prozac came on the market in the mid-1980s. Only those who have weathered a suicidal crisis themselves or watched a loved one face such an emergency may truly appreciate how inadequate our current antidepressants are in such circumstances.

An old drug, ketamine, is now being tested for use against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Where it takes many weeks, even months, for an antidepressant to reach its potential effectiveness, ketamine kicks in within hours. This medication was originally developed as an anesthetic and is administered through an intravenous injection. Listen as researcher Elizabeth Ballard, PhD, describes the promise and possible pitfalls of using ketamine for treating life-threatening depression.

Even without suicidal ideation, chronic depression is debilitating. While many people respond to antidepressant drug treatment, some do not. Others would prefer natural approaches to managing this ongoing condition. Stephen Ilardi, PhD, has studied how well non-drug approaches can work to alleviate depression. They do require effort, but they are all within anyone’s reach.

This Week’s Guests:

Elizabeth Ballard, PhD, is an NIMH research fellow and clinical psychologist working in experimental therapeutics and pathophysiology. Her study was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research (Nov., 2014) .

Stephen S. Ilardi, PhD, is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas. His work has been honored by the American Psychological Association’s prestigious Blau Award for early career contributions to the field.

His book is The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs.

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