What Is Depressive Disorder?
While all people feel sadness or “blue” at times, people with depressive disorder feel this way more than others. Depressive disorder is described as a distinctly sad mood. People, especially adults, with depression describe themselves as “feeling low” or “down in the dumps” most days. Children and adolescents with depression may feel sadness and are often described as having an irritable mood. Many factors contribute to a person’s depressive mood, including an altered chemical make-up in the brain than may make him or her more sensitive to negative events. In children, depression is equally common in boys and girls. By the age of 16, however, depressive disorder is more common in women than in men. This disorder runs in families. About 2.5% of children experience depression; the prevalence of depressive disorder in adults is about 5%.
Along with overall feelings of sadness or irritability, additional characteristics of depressive disorder are:
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Low energy level
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Loss of interest in your favorite activities
- Refusal to go to school; poor performance in school
- Weight loss or gain
- Physical aches or pains
- Low desire to be with friends in social situations
Depressive disorder assessments are usually performed by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Diagnosis occurs through a combination of techniques and includes a clinician, client, parent(s), teacher(s), and significant other(s) if applicable. Observations of how the client behaves at school, work, or home are made by appropriate people, often using structured observational forms. The clinician will conduct an interview with the client to learn about the client’s past and current functioning. The client may also participate in a neuropsychological evaluation.
For More Information:
Watch Dr. Ray Kinder’s presentation at End Bullying Now! by clicking here.