Mental Health Book


  • Depression in Older Adults


Depression in Older Adults

Aka: Depression in Older Adults, Geriatric Depression
  1. See Also
    1. Major Depression
    2. Depression in Dementia
  2. Epidemiology
    1. Prevalence: One third of hospitalized elderly
  3. Screening
    1. See Geriatric Depression Scale
  4. Signs
    1. May present with many physical complaints
  5. Risk Factors: Suicide
    1. Grief
    2. Living alone and other social isolation
    3. Male gender
    4. Comorbidity and secondary Disability
    5. Poor sleep quality
    6. Substance Abuse (e.g. Alcohol Abuse)
    7. White race
    8. Turvey (2002) Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 10(4): 398-406 [PubMed]
  6. Differential Diagnosis
    1. See Medication Causes of Depression
    2. See Organic Causes of Major Depression
    3. Dementia (contrast with depression with sudden onset, rapid progression)
      1. Insidious onset and long duration
      2. Progressive worsening
      3. Often associated with neurologic deficits
      4. Patient tries to conceal Disability
      5. Memory impaired without benefit of cuing
  7. Management
    1. See Depression Management
    2. See Depression Medical Management
    3. SSRI Agents (Highly responsive: 60-80% of cases)
      1. Preferred agents due to low side effect profiles, fewer Drug Interactions, less adverse effect on cognition
        1. Escitalopram (Lexapro)
        2. Citalopram (Celexa)
        3. Sertraline (Zoloft)
      2. Agents that improve appetite, maintenance of weight
        1. Mirtazapine (Remeron) promotes weight gain
      3. Agents to avoid
        1. Avoid Fluoxetine (due to Drug Interactions)
        2. Avoid Paroxetine (due to Anticholinergic effects)
      4. Monitoring
        1. Observe for Hyponatremia while on SSRI (SIADH)
        2. Observe for seroronin syndrome
    4. Adjunctive agents
      1. Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
        1. Consider short-term use (e.g. 3 months) while starting and titrating SSRI in severe Major Depression
        2. Avoid in severe anxiety, unstable or recent Coronary Artery Disease or arrhythmia
        3. Example dose: Start Methylphenidate immediate release 2.5 mg in morning and afternoon
          1. Limit dose to <20 mg daily
        4. References
          1. (2016) Presc Lett 23(5):28
          2. Lavretsky (2015) Am J Psychiatry 172(6):561-9 +PMID:25677354 [PubMed]
  8. References
    1. Morley (2010) J Am Med Dir Assoc 11(5):301-3 [PubMed]
    2. Reynolds (2006) N Engl J Med 354(11): 1130-8 [PubMed]
    3. Spoelhof (2011) Am Fam Physician 84(10): 1149-54 [PubMed]
    4. Thakur (2008) J Am Med Dir Assoc 9(2): 82-7 [PubMed]
    5. Unutzer (2007) N Engl J Med 357(22): 2269-76 [PubMed]

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