The management of depression among individuals with dementia can be one of the more challenging problems in geriatric practice. Depression in dementia is common regardless of the type of dementia and compounds the impairment of the underlying dementing illness. Some symptoms of dementia, including apathy, impaired concentration, and decreased food intake, may be difficult to distinguish from similar symptoms of depression. This article presents background information on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of depression in dementia followed by recommendations for a systematic approach to diagnosis. Treatment modalities including psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy are reviewed.
Key words: dementia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology.