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  1. Norman Abeles

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0717

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Abeles, N. 2010. Pseudodementia. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Brown (2005) raises the question as to whether the term pseudodementia is still valid and useful. He points out that many specialists have taken a second look at this diagnosis and have essentially abandoned it. With that in mind, it seems important to look at and see what this diagnosis is all about. Jenike (1988) points out that many elderly patients with depression show cognitive changes that include deficits in memory performance. The term pseudodementia (literally, “false dementia”) is used to describe cognitive changes associated with depression that can be reversed with adequate treatment (p. 128). One should not assume, he warns, that cognitive disorders are necessarily a consequence of neurological disease. The danger appears to be that cognitively impaired patients can be viewed as hopelessly demented, warranting no further treatment for depressive symptoms. He suggests that although diagnosis is certainly important, the distinction between a psychiatric disorder and a neurological disorder may not be crucial, as long as one can determine that the course of the illness is not progressive.


  • dementia;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • cognition;
  • memory impairment;
  • attention;
  • concentration