Diagnosis and treatment of depression in Alzheimer's disease. A practical update for the clinician

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2004;17(1-2):55-64. doi: 10.1159/000074277. Epub 2003 Oct 15.


Over 80% of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) develop 'noncognitive' neuropsychiatric symptoms at some point during the course of their illness. Depression is among the most frequent of such comorbidities. Affecting up to 50% of AD patients, depression is associated with severe negative consequences for patients and caregivers. Despite having a presentation in the context of AD that differs from typical 'geriatric' depression, it can be detected and quantified reliably, and can be differentiated from the other neuropsychiatric symptoms of AD. Several effective treatment modalities for depression in AD are available. In many cases, these reduce its adverse impact on patients and caregivers. This paper provides an overview of current knowledge regarding depression in AD for the clinician. It is followed by a practical discussion of the detection, evaluation, quantification, differential diagnosis and treatment of depression in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic


  • Antidepressive Agents