Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 176–189 | Cite as

Depression in the elderly: new concepts and therapeutic approaches

  • Patrizia Mecocci
  • Antonio Cherubini
  • Elena Mariani
  • Carmelinda Ruggiero
  • Umberto Senin
Review Article


Depression is one of the leading causes of suffering in the elderly, but it is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, partly due to the false belief that depression is a common aspect of aging. Depression in the elderly is frequently comorbid with medical illnesses, may often be expressed by somatic complaints, and may be a risk factor for other diseases such as dementia and coronary artery disease. Depression decreases the quality of life and increases disability and the risk of mortality, also due to suicide. Although several effective antidepressant drugs are available, with a favorable therapeutic index, non-pharmacological treatments, such as psychotherapy and exercise, should receive greater attention, since combination therapy is probably more effective.

Key Words

Comorbidity depression disability elderly mortality quality of life treatment of depression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Mecocci
    • 1
  • Antonio Cherubini
    • 1
  • Elena Mariani
    • 1
  • Carmelinda Ruggiero
    • 1
  • Umberto Senin
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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