n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Old and sad - depression in later life : main topic

Volume 22, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Depression is a common illness that is under-recognised and undertreated in the elderly population. <br>Major depression is not simply a natural outcome of ageing. <br>Elderly depressed patients present with a typical clinical picture. <br>Memory loss, mental confusion, social withdrawal, and neurovegetative symptoms are common. <br>The elderly patient may not admit to depressed mood but will have numerous somatic complaints. <br>Suicide is commonest in elderly white men. <br>SSRIs are preferred over older antidepressants because of milder side-effects, safety in overdose and limited drug-drug interactions. <br>Nausea, agitation, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction are the commonest side effects of SSRIs. <br>Doses should initially be low, with slow upward titration and a treatment trial duration of 9 weeks. <br>ECT and psychotherapy are alternative treatment options.

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