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People with Alzheimer's may experience depression differently from that of people without Alzheimer's. For example, individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease:
Scientists aren't sure of the exact relationship between Alzheimer's disease and depression. The biological changes caused by Alzheimer's may intensify a predisposition to depression.
On the other hand, depression may increase the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease.
It's clear that depression has a strong effect on quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease. Depression can lead to:
Several options are available to treat people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and depression:
Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — for example, citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft) — are usually the first antidepressants chosen for people who have depression and Alzheimer's. These medications have a low risk of side effects and drug interactions.
However, these medications may not be as effective at treating depression with Alzheimer's as they are at treating depression alone. Other antidepressants, such as venlafaxine (Effexor XR) or bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, others), also may be used.
Making the diagnosis of depression in people with Alzheimer's disease and getting appropriate treatment can help make life easier and more enjoyable for both the person with Alzheimer's and his or her caregivers.
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