In many neurological diseases a depressive syndrome is a characteristic sign of the primary disease or is an important comorbidity. Post-stroke depression, for example, is a common and relevant complication following ischemic brain infarction. Approximately 4 out of every 10 stroke patients develop depressive disorders in the course of the disease which have a disadvantageous effect on the course and the prognosis. On the other hand depression is also a risk factor for certain neurological diseases as was recently demonstrated in a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies which revealed a much higher stroke risk for depressive patients. Furthermore, depression plays an important role in other neurological diseases with respect to the course and quality of life, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. This article gives a review of the most important epidemiological, pathophysiological and therapeutic aspects of depressive disorders as a comorbidity of neurological diseases and as a risk factor for neurological diseases.