Major depressive disorder in older age (70 years or older) is associated with poorer prognosis, compared with younger people, according to a two year-long observational study that tracked one thousand 18-88 year olds who had major depressive disorder, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
Almost one in five adults are expected to have an episode of major depressive disorder sometime during their lives, and the course of these episodes can be highly variable. While a more severe course of major depressive disorder seems to be more common in older people than their younger peers, the new study is the first to assess this in a large sample representing adults of all ages.
Compared to the youngest age group (18-29 year olds), people aged 70 or over were more likely to be lonely, have less social support, and have more pain and chronic diseases. They were also more likely to use antidepressants, and have had more than one major depressive disorder episode.