Depression in the elderly is very common and may be difficult to diagnose. Because of its varied presentation and its frequent association with physical illness it will be encountered increasingly by all physicians as the elderly population expands. Depression, though treatable, is often not treated, and suicide rates are high among depressed elderly persons. Diagnostic difficulties lie in distinguishing depression from organic brain syndromes, from so-called masked depressions and from normal grief reactions. Pharmacologic treatment is effective, but care must be taken to recognize side effects and to use adequate doses. Psychologic approaches should focus on reducing feelings of helplessness and failing self-esteem. The importance of the losses borne by elderly persons in the pathogenesis of depression continues to be of theoretical and practical interest.
Cites: Am J Psychother. 1967 Oct;21(4):791-66065663