The spectrum of depressive pseudo-dementia

  • P. Fischer
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission Supplement book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 47)


Depressive disorder causes cognitive symptoms. In the case of severe cognitive symptoms or when psychometric procedures measure cognitive decline in the range of dementia, depressed patients may be diagnosed as Depressive Pseudo-Dementia (DPD). There is no data that depressive disorder can cause dementia without coexisting depressive symptoms. The latter symptoms are frequently overseen because cognitive symptoms are equated with organic brain disease. There are typical neuropsychological features of cognitive decline in depressive disorders, like psychomotor retardation and the slow-start phenomenon.

Most patients referred to as DPD, suffer from depression-induced cognitive symptoms outside the range of dementia, but complain of memory disturbance and inability to think or concentrate. The diagnosis of DPD draws attention to a problem in the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in the elderly: Old people suffering from depression are at particular risk of beeing labelled as demented. The most important step to diagnose depression causing dementia is the search for signs and symtoms of affective disorder even after having found cognitive symptoms.


Depressive Symptom Depressive Disorder Depressed Patient Cognitive Symptom Psychomotor Retardation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinische Abteilung für AllgemeinpsychiatrieUniversitätsklinik für PsychiatrieWienAustria

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