Depression in the elderly: a treatable disorder.

Abstract

Up to 15% of elderly women may suffer from depression. Patients with this disorder present with change in mood or diminished interest or pleasure in usual activities, as well as a variety of other neurovegetative symptoms. Depression is amenable to treatment, and a wide range of drug and nonpharmacologic modalities may be useful. The mere action of seeking professional help signals that the depressed patient has begun to take control of the situation and serves as a promising sign for recovery. The tricyclic antidepressants have a long history of use for the treatment of depression and are probably the most widely used agents for this indication, despite numerous adverse effects. Bupropion and the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are effective in treating depression and are better tolerated than the tricyclics. For this reason, they may be particularly useful for treating depression in the elderly.