What is pseudodementia in patients with major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

A broad range of physiologic and structural CNS processes can produce changes in mood and behavior. Note that major depressive disorder can produce measurable cognitive deficits or a worsening of preexisting dementia. This decline in cognitive functioning, which on formal testing appears to arise from impaired concentration or motivation, is referred to as pseudodementia or as dementia of depression and should remit with successful treatment of the depressive episode.

Alzheimer disease and other degenerative and vascular dementias can be associated with affective symptoms, especially in the initial phases of dementia. Mood disorders are also very prominent in Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and seizure disorders. Neoplastic lesions of the CNS can cause changes in mood and behavior before the onset of focal neurologic signs.


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