Treating Depression in the Older Adult

The accredited CME learning activity based on this article is offered under the auspices of the CE department of the University of Toronto. Participating physicians are entitled to one (1) MAINPRO-M1 credit by completing this program, found online at

Lonn Myronuk, MD, FRCPC, Member of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry, President, GeriPsych
Medical Services, Inc., Parksville, BC.

Depressive symptoms in older adults are common and are associated with subjective distress, increased rates of functional impairment, and death. The natural history of depression in the aged appears to differ from that of the younger population, such that conventional criteria for diagnosis of a major depressive episode may not be met by the older patient. Yet, these subsyndromally depressed patients have equivalent levels of disability and risk of morbidity and mortality. Current thinking advises the inclusion of subsyndromal patients in treatment for depression, in contrast to earlier recommendations.

Key words:
aged, depressive disorders, morbidity, mortality.