Drug-associated depression is not major depressive disorder; a pilot study in a population-based sample of the elderly

A. D.F. Dhondt*, C. Hooijer, J. H. Smit, W. Van Tilburg

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this pilot study we investigate whether the heterogeneous variety of drugs classified in our previous work as depressogenic contributes to the occurrence of depression and whether there are differences in this contribution between major depressive disorder (MDD) and non-MDD. The study was performed in a small sample (N = 96) of community-dwelling elderly, population-based and weighed for the distribution of age, gender and prevalence of depressive symptoms. Other aetiological aspects of depression, such as age, female gender, cerebral deterioration, a previous history of mental disorder or a family history of mental disorder, were controlled for. When subjects with a MDD were separated from the other depressed subjects, all associations with medication became stronger in MDD, except for the use of the depressogenic medication, which was less frequent in MDD. This contrast only reached the level of significance after correcting for the other aetiological contributions. In MDD, the use of depressogenic medication may play an aetiological role but other factors seem more relevant. We found a significant association between depressogenic medication and non-MDD; this strengthens our suspicion that DAD is not MDD. DAD, especially in the elderly population, may (often) not be a MDD but a non-MDD with an atypical presentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1996

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