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Br J Psychiatry. 1991 Jan;158:72-5.

Depression and previous alcoholism in the elderly.

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  • 1University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.


A prospective study of male in-patients over 55 years old who met Feighner criteria for non-bipolar depression was performed to determine if a previous history of alcoholism significantly influenced treatment or response to treatment. Among 58 subjects with complete follow-up information, the 16 who had a history of alcoholism had a presentation at index which differed from that of the non-alcoholics, and on follow-up they clearly had more chronic illness. This elderly sample with alcoholism resembles 'neurotic-reactive' depressives described in younger samples, and supports a past history of alcoholism as being a risk factor for chronicity of depression on follow-up in the elderly population.

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