Recognizing and Treating Depression in the Elderly

Mark D. Miller, MD

Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health eJournal. 1997;2(2) 

In This Article

Conclusion

Research, improved awareness, and treatment advances have revolutionized the care of depressed elderly persons in the last 15 years. With current resources and knowledge, optimism has justifiably replaced therapeutic nihilism. The current task at hand is to educate the public in general, and all health care workers in particular, about the availability of effective treatments. Depression should never be considered normal, neither in childhood nor in later life.

  • Depression in the Elderly. This report, presented by The Wills Geriatric Psychiatry Program, provides a review, in question/answer format, of depressive disorders in the elderly. Topics of focus range from the etiologic factors that contribute to the onset of this pathology, to a description of the clinical presentation.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Adolescent and Geriatric Depression. This site, provided by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science, features an overview of geriatric depression. Issues addressed include specific diagnostic considerations, clinical presentation, associated disorders, therapeutic management strategies, as well as expected prognosis.

  • Neuropsychiatric Assessment and Treatment of Geriatric Depression. This Web page, provided by Mental Health Infosource, the Online Community for Mental Health, features a discussion that addresses the current state of research efforts, awareness among the healthcare industry, and treatment advances in the diagnosis and management of the elderly depressed patient. Parameters reviewed include the critical role of the pretreatment evaluation in assessment and diagnosis, as well as the available treatment strategies to optimize therapeutic benefit.

  • Studies of the Course and Outcomes of Geriatric Depression. This summary, provided by George S. Alexopoulos, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College, presents a comprehensive overview of research into the presenting pathology of geriatric depression. Emphasis is placed upon viewing the disorder as a heterogeneous entity which encompasses a multitude of neurological defects.

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