Late-Life Depression: Prevalence and Presentation, Course and Outcome

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Late-life depression is a prevalent condition. Elderly individuals often assume that depressivesymptoms are a normal consequence of aging, and the standard diagnostic criteria for depression maynot be sufficiently sensitive to detect late-life depressive episodes. Consequently, depression, particularlysubsyndromal depression, remains underdiagnosed, and high levels of medical comorbidity oftenconfound the diagnosis. Failure to recognize depression in primary care may mean that health servicesare used inappropriately to determine another cause for the signs and symptoms presented by theelderly patient.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2000;2(suppl 5):3-6