Apathy is not depression

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Summer 1998;10(3):314-9. doi: 10.1176/jnp.10.3.314.

Abstract

If depression is associated with apathy, then they should be expressed together in different dementia syndromes and should co-occur at varying levels of disease severity. The authors performed a cross-sectional comparison of neuropsychiatric symptoms in 30 Alzheimer's disease, 28 frontotemporal dementia, 40 Parkinson's disease, 34 Huntington's disease, and 22 progressive supranuclear palsy patients, using a standardized rating scale (the Neuropsychiatric Inventory). Apathy did not correlate with depression in the combined sample; apathy (r = -0.40, P < 0.0001), but not depression, correlated with lower cognitive function as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination. The relationship of apathy to depression also varied across diagnostic groups. Apathy is a specific neuropsychiatric syndrome that is distinct from depression. Distinguishing these two syndromes has therapeutic implications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parietal Lobe
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / diagnosis
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / psychology