Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS

Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS

  • Geriatric Psychiatry
Adult & Geriatric Psychiatry | 300 Medical Plaza, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, CA 90095


Dr. Helen Lavretsky is a Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and a geriatric integrative psychiatrist with federally funded research program in geriatric depression and integrative mental health (NIMH, PCORI, and NCCIH) using mind-body interventions. She is a recipient of the Career Development award from NIMH and the NCCIH, and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of psychopharmacological treatment of geriatric depression, mild cognitive impairment and the use of Tai Chi and yoga for treatment and prevention of late-life mood and cognitive disorders. She is the Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. She is the Semel Scholar in Integrative Mental Health and the Director of the Late-life mood, stress and wellness Research program, the Integrative Psychiatry clinic, and the Post-COVID Psychiatry clinic.


English, Russian


Medical Board Certifications

Geriatric Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1998
Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1996


Geriatric Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, 1996


Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, 1995


MS, UCLA, 2004
MD, First Moscow Sechenov Medical Institute, 1985



West Los Angeles

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry| Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center


Caregiver Stress and Depression | Dr. Helen Lavretsky - UCLA Health



  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Mood Disorders
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  • Long-haul COVID-19 syndrome
  • Neuroimaging/ neurosciences


  1. Lavretsky H, Laird KT, Krause-Sorio B, Heimberg BF, Yeargin J, Grzenda A, Wu P, Thana-Udom K, Ercoli LM, Siddarth P. A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Combined Escitalopram and Memantine for Older Adults With Major Depression and Subjective Memory Complaints. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 22. pii: S1064-7481(19)30474-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.08.011. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31519517.
  2. Krause-Sorio B, Kilpatrick L, Siddarth P, Ercoli L, Laird KT, Aguilar-Faustino Y, Milillo MM, Narr KL, Lavretsky H. Cortical thickness increases with levomilnacipran treatment in a pilot randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial in late-life depression. Psychogeriatrics. 2019 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12475. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31332902.
  3. Laird KT, Krause B, Funes C, Lavretsky H. Psychobiological factors of resilience and depression in late life. Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 14;9(1):88. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0424-7. PubMed PMID: 30765686; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6375932.
  4. Laird KT, Lavretsky H, St Cyr N, Siddarth P. Resilience predicts remission in antidepressant treatment of geriatric depression. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Dec;33(12):1596-1603. doi: 10.1002/gps.4953. Epub 2018 Jul 23. PubMed PMID: 30035325; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6246780.
  5. Vlasova RM, Siddarth P, Krause B, Leaver AM, Laird KT, St Cyr N, Narr KL, Lavretsky H. Resilience and White Matter Integrity in Geriatric Depression. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Aug;26(8):874-883. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 Apr 23. PubMed PMID: 29803529; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6086733.
  6. Leaver AM, Yang H, Siddarth P, Vlasova RM, Krause B, St Cyr N, Narr KL, Lavretsky H. Resilience and amygdala function in older healthy and depressed adults. J Affect Disord. 2018 Sep;237:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.109. Epub 2018 Apr 25. PubMed PMID: 29754022; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5995579.
  7. Laird KT, Paholpak P, Roman M, Rahi B, Lavretsky H. Mind-Body Therapies for Late-Life Mental and Cognitive Health. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Jan 25;20(1):2. doi: 10.1007/s11920-018-0864-4. Review. PubMed PMID: 29372339.
  8. Eyre HA, Siddarth P, Acevedo B, Van Dyk K, Paholpak P, Ercoli L, St Cyr N, Yang H, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H. A randomized controlled trial of Kundalini yoga in mild cognitive impairment. Int Psychogeriatr. 2017 Apr;29(4):557-567. doi: 10.1017/S1041610216002155. Epub 2017 Jan 16. PMID: 28088925; PMCID: PMC5540331.
  9. Chang DD, Storch EA, Black L, Berk M, Pellis N, Lavretsky H, Sutton J, Ternes K, Shepanek M, Smith E, Abbott R, Eyre HA. Promoting Tech Transfer Between Space and Global Mental Health. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020 Sep 1;91(9):737-745. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5589.2020. PMID: 32867906..
  10. Hamm ME, Brown PJ, Karp JF, Lenard E, Cameron F, Dawdani A, Lavretsky H, Miller JP, Mulsant BH, Pham VT, Reynolds CF, Roose SP, Lenze EJ. Experiences of American Older Adults with Pre-existing Depression During the Beginnings of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Multicity, Mixed-Methods Study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Sep;28(9):924-932. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.06.013. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID: 32682619; PMCID: PMC7305766.

  11. Lavretsky H, Reinlieb M, St Cyr N, Siddarth P, Ercoli LM, Senturk D. Citalopram, methylphenidate, or their combination in geriatric depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;172(6):561-9. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14070889. Epub 2015 Feb 13. PMID: 25677354; PMCID: PMC4451432.

  12. Smith E, Au R, Mossé M, Lavretsky H, Forbes M, Eyre HA. Rebooting Late-Life Mental Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship With Convergence Science. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Jun;28(6):591-596. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.03.003. Epub 2020 Mar 16. PMID: 32276828.

In the News

For The Elderly, Climate Change Poses More Risks To Wellness (Forbes, April 2021)

AHA: Mental Health Plays a Role in Treating and Preventing Heart Disease (verywellhealth.com, Feb 2021)

Dear Mental Health Innovators: The COVID-19 Honeymoon Is Almost Over (Psychiatry Times, May 2020)

Professor receives three research awards for work in geriatric psychiatry (UCLA Newsroom, Feb 2020)

Resilience in the context of ageing with Dr. Helen Lavretsky (thewisdomfactory.net, February 2018)

The Sound of Healing (uclahealth.org/vitalsigns, Fall 2018)

Introduction: Neuropsychiatric Disorders of Aging (Psychiatrictimes.com, January 2018)

I Tried to Cure My Anxiety by Hallucinating (Cosmopolitan.com, September 2017)

Interview: How Spirituality Benefits Older Adults (Aging Horizons Bulletin, April 2017)

Mantra as Medicine (LA Yoga, March 2017)

Healthy living through better habits (Latimes.com, February 2017)

Yoga May Be Good for the Brain (Nytimes.com, June 2016)

Yoga may be good for the brain (Washington Post, June 2016)

Yoga Can Help Improve Memory For Those At Risk For Alzheimer's (Huffington Post, May 2016)

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Alzheimer's and Dementia (yogajournal.com, February 2015)


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  • Super Doctors® Southern California, 2023, 2024
  • Fellow of the CINP and ACNP
  • Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry