Apart from Alzheimer's dementia, depressive disorders are emerging to account for the next greatest share of disability among older adults. Depressive illnesses complicate the recovery of many important medical illnesses and are associated with suicide death in the elderly at rates exceeding those seen in young adults. This issue of Psychiatric Clinics provides information for general adult psychiatrists, internal medicine geriatricians, and primary care physicians and care extenders to enable them to meet the most basic needs of depressed older adults. Topics in this issue address the questions: What is late life depression? What are the unique cognitive deficits seen in late life depression? What is the nature of the two-way relationship between medical illness and depression in late life depression? What complications arise from late life depression? What is the relationship between late life depression and dementing illnesses? What assessments should be done of the person with suspected late life depression? What are the psychological treatments for late life depression? What is the role of medications in late life depression? What is the role of alternative treatments in late life depression? Is there a role for ECT/TMS/VNS in late life depression? Vaughn McCall of Georgia Health Sciences University provides his expertise to lead this issue.
By Vaughn McCall, MD, Georgia Health Sciences University