J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1998 May;2(1):3-8.

Classification and Epidemiology

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


We have not yet had any official diagnostic system of mental disorders that is specific for the elderly patients. As in other diagnostic categories, the DSM-IV and ICD-10 are used as the official diagnostic criteria for mood disorder. Several dichotomous classifications are, however, applied sometimes for clinical and research convenience. The reported prevalence rates of depressive symptoms are between 10-40% among the elderly residing in community;the rate is far higher among those who are hospitalized or in chronic institution. The prevalence of major depression, clinical depression, among the elderly is known to be lower than that among younger adults, the exact reason for which is not well clarified so far. The rate of dysthymia is around 1.7% and similar to that for general population. Poor social support network is the most well known risk for developing depression for the elderly.


Depression; Diagnostic criteria; Elderly; Prevalence
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