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The exact cause for persistent depressive disorder is not known, but experts point to several risk factors for developing depressive disorders
Persistent depressive disorder is a condition that can affect anyone regardless of age, race, ethnic background, gender, or income level.
A child or adolescent with persistent depressive disorder will experience a depressed or irritable mood on most days for at least 1 year. In addition, the child will exhibit appetite changes, sleep disturbances, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, or feelings of hopelessness.
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. About 11% of 13-18 year olds experience either persistent depressive disorder or major depressive disorder.
Being a little sad or moody can be normal in children and adolescents. Depression involves a child’s body, mind and thoughts. A child with depression will often demonstrate appetite or sleep changes or other changes in their behavior. Academic performance and social functioning may be affected. If these symptoms persist the child may have persistent depressive disorder. It is important for your child to be evaluated by a mental health professional if you notice significant changes in his or her mood and behavior.
Both children and adults can be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder. In adults, persistent depressive disorder presents with chronic depressed mood, whereas in children the mood may be irritable or depressed. Children and adolescents must present with symptoms for 1 year, but in adults the symptoms must be present for at least 2 years.
There is some evidence that treating depression in parents can help prevent the development of depression in their children. Intervention strategies targeting families of children at-risk for depression have demonstrated some efficacy for preventing depressive symptoms in these children.
Those with persistent depressive disorder are at high risk of going on to develop a major depressive episode. People that develop persistent depressive disorder earlier in life (<21 years of age) tend to have a poorer prognosis than those that develop the disorder later in life. Children with persistent depressive disorder who do not receive treatment are more likely to develop personality disorders and substance use disorders in adulthood. Early identification and treatment of the disorder is important to minimize the long-term impact on the child or adolescent.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”