The many faces of geriatric depression

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008 Nov;21(6):540-5. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328311cdae.


Purpose of review: Recent studies on five aspects of geriatric depression, namely subsyndromal depression, risk factors and association with chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment, are reviewed.

Recent findings: Subsyndromal depression in the elderly population is not uncommon in east Asia; the prevalence is about 8-9%. Risk factors of geriatric depression include poor health, brain injury, low folate and vitamin B12 and raised plasma homocysteine levels. Depressed elderly with chronic pain are prone to suicidal ideation. Depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and mortality in coronary heart disease.

Summary: The growing interest in research on geriatric depression could focus on early diagnosis to help doctors treat depression better at primary care level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Geriatric Psychiatry / standards
  • Humans
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / blood
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Folic Acid