Depression in Major Neurodegenerative Diseases and Strokes: A Critical Review of Similarities and Differences among Neurological Disorders

Brain Sci. 2023 Feb 13;13(2):318. doi: 10.3390/brainsci13020318.


Depression and anxiety are highly prevalent in most neurological disorders and can have a major impact on the patient's disability and quality of life. However, mostly due to the heterogeneity of symptoms and the complexity of the underlying comorbidities, depression can be difficult to diagnose, resulting in limited recognition and in undertreatment. The early detection and treatment of depression simultaneously with the neurological disorder is key to avoiding deterioration and further disability. Although the neurologist should be able to identify and treat depression initially, a neuropsychiatry team should be available for severe cases and those who are unresponsive to treatment. Neurologists should be also aware that in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, different depression symptoms could develop at different stages of the disease. The treatment options for depression in neurological diseases include drugs, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and somatic interventions, among others, but often, the evidence-based efficacy is limited and the results are highly variable. Here, we review recent research on the diagnosis and treatment of depression in the context of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and strokes, with the aim of identifying common approaches and solutions for its initial management by the neurologist.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; SNRIs; SSRIs; dementia; depression; stroke; vortioxetine.

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  • Review

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