World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Depression of Alzheimer disease

Article Id: WHEBN0022984054
Reproduction Date:

Title: Depression of Alzheimer disease  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Alzheimer's disease
Collection: Alzheimer's Disease, Depression (Psychology)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Depression of Alzheimer disease

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease, occurring at all stages of the disease, but it often appears in a different form than other depressive disorders. In 2000, a workgroup of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health created a set of provisional diagnostic criteria for depression of Alzheimer disease (dAD) as a separate diagnostic entity in its own right.[1]

In 2005, psychiatrists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine created a set of operationalized criteria to aid the diagnosis of dAD in clinical practice.[2]


  • Causes 1
  • Symptoms 2
  • Diagnosis 3
  • Treatment 4
    • Psychosocial 4.1
    • Medication 4.2
  • References 5


Although caregivers often feel that the fact of an Alzheimer's diagnosis must be creating depression in the affected person, there is little or no evidence that this is true. In fact, it is not clear how many people are capable of comprehending an Alzheimer's diagnosis at the time it is made. The symptoms of dAD can arise at any point during the course of Alzheimer's disease, often at a stage quite late in cognitive decline.[3]

Numerous neurological studies have found correlations between abnormalities in the brain and depression in dementia. For dAD in particular, positron emission tomography (PET) studies have found alterations of metabolism in the right superior frontal gyrus [4]


The diagnostic criteria for depression in Alzheimer disease specify that it requires only 3 of the possible symptoms for major depressive disorder (MDD), rather than the 5 required to diagnose MDD itself, and the symptoms may fluctuate. Therefore dAD often goes unrecognized within the spectrum of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.[3]

In general, people who have dAD tend to be anxious, agitated, delusional, or inattentive. Symptoms include irritability and social isolation. People with dAD are more likely than those with MDD to show a decline in their enjoyment of social contacts or customary activities, but are less likely to express or experience guilt or feel suicidal.[3]


Of course, diagnosis must rely on the criteria established by the NIMH working group on dAD.

Because of the cognitive decline characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, diagnosis of dAD needs to include independent interviews of the patient and caregiver. The Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia is particularly useful because it allows for these separate assessments.[5]


Educating the caregiver about depression in dementia is of primary importance in addressing the problem. Caregivers need to understand the need for structure and comfort in the patient's daily activities, as well as the importance of including activities that the patient finds enjoyable and of trying to convey a sense of pleasure themselves. Caregivers also need an opportunity to "vent" and to understand and express when they have exceeded their ability to address the patient's needs.[3]


Controlled trials show that providing pleasant daily activities [6] or exercise,[7] for someone who has Alzheimer's disease, in conjunction with activities designed to support the caregiver, can produce positive results in addressing the associated depression.


There are no official clinical guidelines as yet about the use of antidepressant medication for dAD in particular. Medication may be justified for people with diagnosed dAD who are suicidal, violent, not eating or drinking, or who score high on the Cornell scale.

The evidence would seem to suggest similar efficacy for SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants in initial treatment for dAD. If these treatments do not address the symptoms, it would be reasonable to try noradrenergic drugs, secondary amine tricyclic antidepressants, or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.[3]

A clinical trial testing sertraline (Zoloft) for depression of Alzheimer disease, launched by the NIMH in 2004, is due to be completed in the summer of 2009.[8]

Sertraline, as per the latest studies has been found to be ineffective in improving cognitive outcomes in patients with Alzheimer's disease.[9] Sertraline is also associated with increased incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory adverse effects.[10]


  1. ^ Olin JT, Schneider LS, Katz IR et al. (2002). "Provisional diagnostic criteria for depression of Alzheimer disease". Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 10 (2): 125–28.  
  2. ^ Rosenberg PB, Onyike CU, Porsteinsson AP et al. (2005). "'"Clinical application of operationalized criteria for 'Depression of Alzheimer's Disease. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 20 (2): 119–27.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Kozauer NA, Rosenberg PB, and Lyketsos C (2006). "Depression in Patients with Alzheimer Dementia". Psychiatric Times 23 (13). 
  4. ^ Lee DY, Choo IH, Jhoo JH, et al. (2006). "Frontal dysfunction underlies depressive syndrome in Alzheimer disease: a FDG-PET study.". Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 14 (7): 625–628.  
  5. ^ Alexopoulos GS, Abrams RC, Young RC, et al. (1988). "Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia". Biological Psychiatry 23 (3): 271–284.  
  6. ^ Teri L, Logsdon RG, Uomoto J, et al. (1997). "Behavioral treatment of depression in dementia patients: a controlled clinical trial". Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 52 (4): 159–166.  
  7. ^ Teri L, Gibbons LE, McCurry SM, et al. (2003). "Exercise plus behavioral management in patients with Alzheimer disease: a randomized controlled trial.". JAMA 290 (15): 2015–2022.  
  8. ^
  9. ^ Munro, CA; Longmire, CF; Drye, LT; Martin, BK; Frangakis, CE; Meinert, CL; Mintzer, JE; Porsteinsson, AP; Rabins, PV; Rosenberg, PB; Schneider, LS; Weintraub, D; Lyketsos, CG; Depression in Alzheimer’s Disease Study–2 Research, Group (Dec 2012). "Cognitive outcomes after sertaline treatment in patients with depression of Alzheimer disease.". The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 20 (12): 1036–44.  
  10. ^ Weintraub, D; Rosenberg, PB; Drye, LT; Martin, BK; Frangakis, C; Mintzer, JE; Porsteinsson, AP; Schneider, LS; Rabins, PV; Munro, CA; Meinert, CL; Lyketsos, CG; DIADS-2 Research, Group (Apr 2010). "Sertraline for the treatment of depression in Alzheimer disease: week-24 outcomes.". The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 18 (4): 332–40.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.