PDD: Diagnosis

For a child to be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, she must exhibit a depressed mood or irritability most of the day for at least one year. In addition, she must have at least two of the following symptoms, to the point where they cause her distress or interfere with her ability to function well at home, in school, or in other areas of daily life: poor appetite or overeating, trouble sleeping, persistent tiredness or lack of energy, low self-esteem, hopelessness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty making decisions.

When a child has persistent depressive disorder, the severity of her symptoms may vary, at times including episodes severe enough to meet the criteria for major depressive disorder. Rather than give these children two separate diagnoses, clinicians are instructed to identify it as persistent depressive disorder “with intermittent major depressive episodes.” If her symptoms over more than a year continuously meet the criteria for major depressive disorder, clinicians are instructed to call it persistent depressive disorder “with persistent major depressive episodes.”