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Esther Heerema, MSW

How to Spot and Treat Depression in Dementia

By February 2, 2013

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 10% of Americans suffer from depression. But, did you know that the rate of depression in people with Alzheimer's or another dementia is around 4 times that? That's right; approximately 40% of people with dementia experience depression.

This high incidence of depression makes it imperative to be on alert for it, but what if someone with dementia doesn't have the right words to express those feelings? How do you identify depression then?

Certainly, if your loved one or patient is frequently tearful, that's a fairly strong clue that he might be feeling depressed. In addition, there are other, less obvious, signs of depression that are important to take notice of and report to his physician.

Why? Despite depression being statistically common in people with dementia, it's not a normal emotional state, nor should it be an accepted one. Yes, there is grieving involved while coping with the diagnosis and symptoms of Alzheimer's, but the joy-robbing impact of depression doesn't have to go unchecked. Depression is typically highly treatable, and when we talk about quality of life, this is one area that should not be ignored.

For More Information

Recognizing the More Subtle Symptoms of Depression in Dementia

Treatment of Depression in Dementia

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