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Depression in old age in Austria, Ireland, Portugal and Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
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2013 (English)In: European Geriatric Medicine, ISSN 1878-7649, Vol. 4, no 3, 202-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Depression is the third leading cause of disease burden worldwide and the most frequent psychiatric disorder in the older adult population. Depression in old age is disabling, both psychosocially and physically, decreases quality of life and increases mortality. This paper explores the epidemiology, screening, diagnosis and management of depression in old age in four European countries in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the issues contributing to the variability in clinical practice. The prevalence of depression in community dwelling older individuals is high, but studies in the oldest population and in specific settings (like nursing homes) are few. Depression may go undiagnosed, and wide screening programs for early identification of this disease are uncommon. Depression screening is consistently included in comprehensive geriatric assessment, and most geriatricians appear to be confident in its diagnosis and management. Old age psychiatry is still largely underdeveloped, except for Ireland. Primary care physicians start treatment of depression in most countries, referring only complex cases for specialised care. SSRIs seem to be the first line treatment, but choice of antidepressants is widely variable in different countries. Availability of non-pharmacological therapies is still low, and only highly skilled centres use a multifaceted approach to depression care. Attitudes towards depression and mental illness are still mostly negative, which may hinder identification and management of this highly prevalent geriatric problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 4, no 3, 202-208 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79615DOI: 10.1016/j.eurger.2013.04.011ISI: 000322099800018OAI: diva2:655701
Available from: 2013-10-13 Created: 2013-08-26 Last updated: 2013-10-13Bibliographically approved

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