Depression Disorders

What it is

A diagnosed psychological condition of low mood and aversion to activity that has a negative impact on thoughts, feelings, behaviour, views and physical well- being, beyond periodic irritability, moodiness and ups and downs most experience, often brought on by years of anxiety.

Specific Depressive Disorders:
Depressive Disorders include mood disorders (Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar I Disorder (manic/mixed episodes), Bipolar II Disorder (depressive episodes)) and psychiatric conditions (Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Psychotic Disorders).

Major Depressive Disorder:

  • Presence of a single depressive episode Single Episode vs. Recurrent
  • Depressed mood, unhappy/sad, most of the day, nearly every day or irritability, reduced interest/loss of pleasure, weight or appetite change, sleep disturbance, reduced energy, fatigue, feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal
  • Symptoms cause functional difficulties at school, home and in the community
  • Not a result of drugs or a medical condition

Dysthymic Disorder:

  • Depressed mood for most of the day for at least 1-2 years with two or more of: poor appetite or overeating, insomnia, low energy/fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration/difficulty making decisions, feelings of hopelessness
  • Not direct effect of substances
  • Symptoms cause functional difficulties at school, home and in the community

Teaching Strategies for Associated Student Needs:


General information on depression in children.

An outline of the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and how to help from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).