In the confusion around the diagnosis of dementia, it is not always easy to separate the symptoms of depression and dementia. Certainly to the lay person it can be difficult to distinguish between the two issues. In older people it is easy to imagine how someone who is clinically depressed can be thought to have dementia. Among people over the age of 65, one in eight has Alzheimer’s disease, while one in eleven adults suffer from depression. For the elderly it is important to distinguish between the two, because drugs can successfully treat depression.
Now some recently reported research in America suggests that the drugs used to treat depression may also improve memory loss in people with dementia. It is very early days and more research is needed but it is possible that whilst depression may push you towards dementia, the anti-depressant treatment may protect you from further development of dementia.