Major Depressive Disorder

What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

Image Click Here to watch Dr. Albano's video on depression in youth

In children and teenagers, symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can influence a wide range of domains, including their personal happiness, school performance, social relationships, and physical health. Symptoms can include:

  • Sadness, feeling “blue” or “down”
  • Withdrawal from social situations and activities
  • Irritability or anger
  • Changes in appetite (either increased or decreased)
  • Changes in sleep (sleeplessness or excessive sleep)
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Vocal outbursts or crying
  • Increased trouble concentrating; or a decline in memory
  • Loss of interest in schoolwork (decline in academic performance) or other activities
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and/or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

MDD can present in different ways for different children, but typically includes several of the symptoms listed above every day or almost every day for at least two weeks.

This sounds like my child! What can I do?

If you recognize any of these symptoms in your child, call us at 305-348-0477 or request information at to learn more.

  • Schedule an assessment – MDD can be diagnosed by one of our mental health providers at the Center for Children and Families (CCF). Using carefully validated interviews, our clinicians, counselors, and staff can determine whether the symptoms your child is experiencing are related to depression or another condition.
  • Seek appropriate care – Many psychosocial treatments have been shown to effectively reduce symptoms and impairment related to MDD. The CCF provides a number of these well-researched treatments – also known as evidence-based treatments – through our many clinical and research programs. Some medications also have been shown to help reduce the difficulties associated with depression.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – one of the best-established treatments for depression in youth, CBT helps youth develop skills and strategies to better manage their mood and promote positive functioning.
    • Medications – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the primary medication choice for depression. If you are interested in medication options, consult your doctor or psychiatrist for more information. We recommend youth who take medications for depression also receive evidence-based psychosocial treatment to help them learn skills to prevent a recurrence of depression in the future.