Abstract

The initial features and progress of depressive symptomatology over 42 to 104 months are presented for 100 elderly patients admitted with severe, non-neurotic depressive states; none had experienced a previous hypomanic episode. Sixty per cent either remained well throughout or had further episodes followed by full recovery; only 7% suffered continuous depressive symptoms. Of potential prognostic factors, only male sex and poor physical health, both at presentation and developing subsequently, were associated with poorer outcomes. The view is supported that treatment with well established methods achieves worthwhile and sustained improvement for most patients.