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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 44 (2002) 4, 265 - 274

Review article

Depression in dementia

J.G.E Janzing, F.G. Zitman

background Depressive symptoms and syndromes are highly prevalent in patients with dementia. They may significantly affect the quality of life of the patients and their care-givers, but also the course of dementia.
aim To review the current knowledge regarding depression in dementia.
method The content of this review article is based on a selection of the literature considering the prevalence, the symptomatology, the course, the aetiology and the therapeutic options for depression in dementia.
results Clinically relevant depression (syndromal and subsyndromal) is prevalent in about 50% of the patients with dementia. Untreated, its course is persistent. Both biological and psychosocial factors may play a role. In contrast to mood symptoms, symptoms reflecting motivation disturbance are correlated with the severity of dementia. These symptoms seem to reflect frontosubcortical dysfunction caused by dementia. Currently, a number of biological and psychotherapeutic treatment options are available.
conclusion The diagnosis of depression in patients with dementia may have major clinical implications.

keywords dementia, depressive disorder, elderly people, motivation, review