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Diagnosis of depression in elderly patients

  • Mavis Evans and Pat Mottram

Depression in old age is a pathological process, not a normal reaction to growing older. The majority of people cope with ageing, and many feel happy and fulfilled. However, there is a bias among health professionals and the community in general to accept lower functioning and more symptoms in older people (Alexopoulos, 1992). Depression tends to be denied by the current generation of elderly people, many of whom were raised in an atmosphere where showing feelings was discouraged, and this adds to diagnostic difficulties. Comorbid medical conditions, the tendency of patients to somatise, cognitive deterioration, and multiple life events, often of loss (e.g. bereavement, retirement, moving to smaller housing), all further complicate the diagnostic process.

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BJPsych Advances
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Diagnosis of depression in elderly patients

  • Mavis Evans and Pat Mottram
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