Depression a common experience in Alzheimer's
Depression is a common experience for people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Depression in older people can sometimes be confused for dementia and visa versa. Telling the difference can be quite difficult at times.
To be classified or diagnosed by a doctor as a major depressive episode, rather than a low mood sadness or loss of interest in activities, a set of criteria is used from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition, to differentiate such signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of depressed mood or markedly diminished interest and pleasure in activities, have to be present most of the day, nearly every day .
A person with a major depressive episode, as the DSM-1V describe it, must have at least 5 of the following symptoms for at least 2 weeks. These symptoms of depression are:
It has been suggested that a new diagnosis should exist, 'depression in Alzheimer's disease'. In this diagnosis symptoms of irritability and social isolation or withdrawal would be included.
Diagnosis of depression in Alzheimer's disease
Diagnosis of depression in Alzheimer's disease can be difficult. One of the problems of diagnosis is that the person with Alzheimer's may not be able to describe their feelings, their experience of the way they feel or give any sort of accurate history to their mood changes or mood state. The caregiver may have to be consulted to give information and although this is extremely important and helpful it may be less accurate.