Reynolds, Charles F., III Intervention Research Center for Late-Life Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Last reviewed:April 2021
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- Depression in old age
- Clinical signs and course of illness
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A heterogeneous affective disorder involving a depressed mood and/or a loss of interest in daily activities. The most common form of affective disorder is depression (also termed clinical depression) [Fig. 1]. A major depressive episode is defined by a pervasively depressed or low mood (experienced most of the day over a period of two weeks or longer) and at least four associated symptoms affecting sleep, appetite, hedonic (pleasure) capacity, interest, and behavior. Major depressive episodes have several clinical forms. The lifetime rates of affective disorders are increasing, with an earlier age of onset in more recent generations. The onset of major depression most often occurs in individuals in their late 20s to mid-30s. See also: Affective disorders; Mental disorders
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