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the diagnosis and treatment of unipolar depression in late life 

the diagnosis and treatment of unipolar depression in late life
Chapter:
the diagnosis and treatment of unipolar depression in late life
Author(s):

John Snowdon

and Osvaldo P. Almeida

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199796816.003.0006
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date: 27 February 2020

Development of a depressive disorder is commonly attributable to a complexity of factors, though with differences between age-groups. The pattern of losses experienced in old age differs from that encountered earlier in life; notably, increasingly prevalent physical illness and brain changes may cause psychological stress additional to their neurophysiological impact. DSM-IV diagnostic decisions have proved relatively unhelpful when planning interventions in cases of late-life unipolar depression. Relapse following remission is common, especially if culpable factors (e.g. vascular change or persisting effects of losses) remain in evidence. Understanding how different factors have contributed to diminution of self-esteem, as well as biological depressive features, allows planning of appropriate therapeutic strategies.

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