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Irritability and social isolation in dementia patients with and without depression.

Shub D, Bass DM, Morgan RO, Judge KS, Snow AL, Wilson NL, Walder A, Murry B, Kunik ME. Irritability and social isolation in dementia patients with and without depression. Journal of geriatric psychiatry and neurology. 2011 Dec 1; 24(4):229-34.

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This study examined the prevalence of irritability and social isolation in veterans with dementia, with and without depression. Participants were diagnosed with dementia and enrolled in a dementia care-coordination and support-service intervention. Participants were interviewed and underwent assessment with the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, a Patient Strain Measure and the Short Blessed Test. In all, of 294 participants completing interviews, 77 (26.2%) were depressed and 107 (36.4%) endorsed irritability; mean social isolation score was 1.59 ± 1.96. Irritability was significantly more likely to be present in depressed versus nondepressed participants (P  <  .0001), but this relationship was moderated by dementia severity. The mean social isolation score was also significantly more elevated in depressed rather than nondepressed patients (2.82 ± 1.96 vs 1.15 ± 1.76, respectively). Conclusions: Depressed persons with dementia are significantly more likely to experience irritability and social isolation than those who are not depressed.

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