Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Miriam ZichlinEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1145


Depressive pseudodementia; Melancholic pseudodementia; Predementia; Reversible dementia


Pseudodementia is characterized by symptoms of both dementia and depression without the diagnosis of either disorder. It is believed that the dementia symptoms are caused by an underlining depressive psychological illness. While most often seen in the elderly population, it has been documented in other populations. While dementia usually presents gradually, pseudodementia has a rapid onset. Additionally, pseudodementia has been shown to be reversible with treatment of the depressive symptoms. Therefore, organic causes for pseudodementia are questioned (Yousef et al. 1998).

Historical Background

The term pseudodementia was first used by Wells in 1979 to describe patients who were being misdiagnosed with dementia when in fact they were performing poorly on cognitive tests for reasons of depression (Lantz and Buchalter 2001). Depression was proven to be the key cause of the poor...

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References and Readings

  1. Cho, M., Lyoo, I., Lee, D., Kwon, J., Lee, J., Lee, D., et al. (2002). Brain single photon emission computed tomography findings in depressive pseudodementia patients. Journal of Affective Disorders, 69(1–3), 159–166.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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  6. Wells, C. E. (1979). Pseudodementia. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 136(7), 895–900.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Yousef, G., Ryan, W., Lambert, T., Pitt, B., & Kellett, J. (1998). A preliminary report: A new scale to identify the pseudodementia syndrome. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 13(6), 389–399.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Economics and Outcomes ResearchAnalysis Group, Inc.BostonUSA