Cellular evolution develops several conserved mechanisms by which cells can tolerate various difficult conditions and overall maintain homeostasis. Autophagy is a well-developed and evolutionarily conserved mechanism of catabolism, which endorses the degradation of foreign and endogenous materials via autolysosome. To decrease the burden of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), autophagy also promotes the selective degradation of proteins in a tightly regulated way to improve the physiological balance of cellular proteostasis that may get perturbed due to the accumulation of misfolded proteins. However, the diverse as well as selective clearance of unwanted materials and regulations of several cellular mechanisms via autophagy is still a critical mystery. Also, the failure of autophagy causes an increase in the accumulation of harmful protein aggregates that may lead to neurodegeneration. Therefore, it is necessary to address this multifactorial threat for in-depth research and develop more effective therapeutic strategies against lethal autophagy alterations. In this paper, we discuss the most relevant and recent reports on autophagy modulations and their impact on neurodegeneration and other complex disorders. We have summarized various pharmacological findings linked with the induction and suppression of autophagy mechanism and their promising preclinical and clinical applications to provide therapeutic solutions against neurodegeneration. The conclusion, key questions, and future prospectives sections summarize fundamental challenges and their possible feasible solutions linked with autophagy mechanism to potentially design an impactful therapeutic niche to treat neurodegenerative diseases and imperfect aging. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.