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What is Depressive Disorder?

A youth is diagnosed with major depressive disorder when five or more of the following symptoms have been present during the same two-week period and represent a change in previous functioning. Additionally, at least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest:

  • Depressed or sad most of the day (can be irritability for children)
  • Little interest in playing or other pleasant activities
  • Unintentional weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeps too much or sleeps to little
  • Restless or fidgety
  • Tired or loss of energy
  • Feels worthless or guilty
  • Cannot focus or concentrate
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms can cause clinically significant distress or impairment in overall functioning and the depressive episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or other medical condition.

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

A persistent depressive disorder is the existence of a depressed mood for most of the day and for more days than not for at least two years. In children and adolescents, mood can be irritable and duration must be at least one year. A diagnosis is made when two or more of the following symptoms are present:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lower energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty with focus or concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness

 During the one-year period, the youth has never been without the depressive symptoms. Criteria for a major depressive disorder may be continuously present for two years, and there has never been a manic episode. The disturbance is not better explained by other psychotic disorders, and the symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in overall functioning.