Persistent depressive disorder is a type of depression. There are 3 main types of depression:
With persistent depressive disorder, a child has a low, sad, or irritable mood for at least 1 year. He or she may also have major depressive episodes at times.
Depression involves a child’s body, mood, and thoughts. It can disturb eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns. It is not the same as being unhappy or in a blue mood. It is also not a sign of weakness. It can’t be willed or wished away. Children with depression can’t merely pull themselves together and get better. Treatment is often needed.
This type of depression has no single cause. Many factors, such as genetics and the environment, play a role. Depression often happens with other mental health disorders such as substance abuse or anxiety disorders. Depression in children can be triggered by things such as a sudden illness, a stressful event, or a loss of someone important.
These are the most common risk factors for depression:
Each child’s symptoms may vary. A child must have 2 or more of the following symptoms for at least at least 1 year to be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder:
Persistent depressive disorder symptoms may look like other mental health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
A child with this disorder may have other health problems, such as substance abuse or an anxiety disorder. So early diagnosis and treatment is important to your child getting better.
A mental health expert often diagnoses this disorder. He or she will do a mental health evaluation. He or she may also talk with family, teachers, and caregivers.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
This disorder can be treated. Children may need to try different therapists and therapies before they find what works. Treatment may include:
Persistent depressive disorder may put your child at an increased risk for major depression if he or she does not get proper treatment. It also increases the risk for your child or teen to develop other mental health disorders. Proper treatment helps to make symptoms less severe. It also reduces the risk of having another depressive episode (called a relapse).
A child with this disorder may have periods of depression that last longer than 5 years. Proper, ongoing treatment can ease symptoms and prevent them from returning.
Researchers don’t know how to prevent persistent depressive disorder in a child. But spotting it early and getting expert help for your child can help ease symptoms. It can improve your child’s quality of life.
You play a key role in your child’s treatment. Here are things you can do to help your child:
Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child:
Call 911 if your child has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 | 773-702-1000
Appointments: Call UCM Connect at 1-888-824-0200