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Last Updated on : 01st Oct, 2012

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Major Depressive Disorder

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

To be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), a child or teen must have experienced one or more "major depressive episodes." These episodes may be as brief as 2 weeks or as long as several months, and may be characterized by feelings of sadness or hopelessness, thoughts of death or dying, a loss of energy or interest in normal activities, and/or changes in appetite, sleeping patterns, and ability to concentrate. On average, major depressive episodes among young people tend to last 7 to 9 months.

For specific treatment options, please refer to this table

Example of Major Depression
Antonio is a 9 year-old student who has been feeling "down" and "blue" nearly every day for the past 3 months. During this time he has had trouble concentrating in school and his grades have dropped significantly. Antonio has virtually no appetite at all, often skipping breakfast and never eating lunch at school with the other children. Although previously a social child, his interest in other people has declined remarkably; he rarely interacts with the other children during recess and no longer participates in sports or other activities that he previously enjoyed. Instead, he prefers to spend his lunchtimes and recess periods by himself. His parents note that he has been sleeping much more than usual, sometimes as much as 12 hours a night, and seems to have a hopeless attitude about himself, the world, and the future.


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