Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents

Depression is one of the most common medical illnesses in America. Children and adolescents diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) experience depressed mood, irritability, or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities

These feelings must last for at least a 2 week period and must be present most of the day nearly every day. So, feeling down or blue for a day or two is a normal experience, and is not depression

Adolescents with depression notice a marked difference in their current mood compared to their normal mood, or mood prior to depression. A depressed mood caused by either substances (such as drugs, alcohol, or medications) or a general medical condition is not considered depression. Furthermore, a period of sadness resulting from the loss of a loved one would not be considered MDD


  • Diminished interest or pleasure in regularly enjoyable activities
  • Depressed mood or irritable mood
  • Significant change in appetite or weight or failure to meet developmental weight gains
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Inability to think or make a decision
  • Tiredness or loss of energy