CPD Articles

Late-life depression and the family physician

Sanushka Moodley, Alexandra Maisto
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 3| a5534 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v64i1.5534 | © 2022 Sanushka Moodley, Alexandra Maisto | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 March 2022 | Published: 28 June 2022

About the author(s)

Sanushka Moodley, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Alexandra Maisto, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Late-life depression (LLD) is a common disorder seen in clinical practice. Depression in this population group is often left undetected and untreated. The majority of elderly individuals who seek help present to the primary health care setting. The family physician is ideally placed to screen for symptoms of LLD, given that they often have longitudinal knowledge of the patient’s history, premorbid personality, functioning and overall health status. An understanding of risk factors, differential diagnoses, appropriate opportunistic screening tools and decision-making around management plans can assist the family physician in the early detection and treatment of these patients. In doing so, this may lead to a decrease in mortality and morbidity and enhance the patient’s quality of life.

Keywords

Late life; depression; older; geriatric mental health; major depressive disorder; antidepressants; cognitive impairment; dementia

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