Depressive Disorders

Thrive Psychology Clinic > Blog > Depressive Disorders

July 3, 2020 / By thadmin2

What I need to know to help my child with Depression

  1. What are Depressive Disorders? 
  2. What are the common Depressive Disorders faced by children and youths? 
  3. What types of therapies do Thrive Psychology Clinic provide for children and youths with Depressive Disorders?
  4. Parenting a child with Depressive Disorder.
    • Support and resources for parents.


What are Depressive Disorders? 

Depressive disorders are a group of disorders characterised by sadness severe enough or persistent enough to interfere with daily functioning and often by decreased interest or pleasure in activities. Although sadness or low moods are normal occurrences in individuals, children and adolescents with depression may experience unexplained anger and irritability persistently and for long periods of time while sadness may be more common in adults. 

Although there is a wide range of depressive disorders, some of the more common depressive disorders include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Atypical Depression 

Depressive disorders are much more prevalent in females than males. Depressive disorders typically develop in childhood due to environmental factors like major stressful life events, e.g. divorce of parents, death of loved one and trauma, or genetic and biological factors like family history. 


What are the common Depressive Disorders faced by children and youths? 

Depression in children often presents differently than it does in adults, thus some depressive disorders are more commonly experienced within children and adolescents. These disorders include Major Depressive Disorders (MDD), Persistent Depressive Disorder and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. 

 Major Depressive Disorders (MDD) is a severe condition in which a child experiences episodes of depression with a marked loss of pleasure in nearly all activities. Most children experience symptoms that last for at least two weeks.

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), symptoms of childhood depression can include:

  • Academic decline
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in things of past enjoyment
  • Problems with sleep
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Feelings of guilt or being misunderstood
  • Clinging to a parent
  • Unexplained crying
  • Thoughts or actions of self-harm


Persistent Depressive Disorder, formerly known as dysthymia or dysthymic disorder, is a chronic but milder mood disorder than MDD. For children, symptoms of depression must be experienced more often than not for at least one year (lowered for children) to be diagnosed with PDD. The depressive symptoms are seen in PDD often overlap with those found in MDD, however, the differences lie in the severity, duration and persistence. The symptoms in PDD cause distress to the child, however, the child is able to still function on a daily basis. On the other hand, a child with MDD experiences intense and severe symptoms to the point of suicidal ideation and struggles with day-to-day functioning. 


Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a new depressive disorder recently added to the DSM-5, which is characterised by extreme anger and irritability and frequent, intense temper outbursts. This pattern of behaviour is beyond a child who is “moody” or who throws “temper tantrums.” Instead, children display a pattern of abnormal, episodic, and frequently violent and uncontrollable social behaviour without provocation.


Contact us for an appointment to receive a psychological assessment for your child.


What types of therapies do Thrive Psychology Clinic provide for children and youths with Depressive Disorders?

At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we recognise the uniqueness of each individual. Hence, we are always broadening our therapeutic services to ensure that all our clients’ have their mental well-being cared for in an individualised manner.

Here are some of the therapies that may help a child with Depressive Disorders:

  • Behavioural Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Neurocognitive Therapy (can be used to complement Behavioural Therapy)
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Animal-assisted Therapy


To treat depressive disorders, neurocognitive therapy and behavioural therapy are the gold standard therapies to treat children and adolescents with depressive disorders, clinically proven to be effective. Combining both neurocognitive therapy and behavioural therapy, children and psychologists can actively collaborate to meet set goals, like catching those unhelpful thought patterns and improving problem-solving ability. Central to these two types of therapies is teaching children that their thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all interconnected. 

For example, cognitive therapy may be a particularly powerful intervention to change your child’s negative and unhelpful thinking patterns, e.g., “I am too stupid. No one will love me”, after having failed an examination in school. With cognitive therapy, the negative thoughts and assumptions that play a role in the child’s behaviours can be identified and corrected, especially those that may predispose the sufferer to be depressed.

Such negative thinking patterns and appraisals of their situation may lead the child to develop and reinforce the various symptoms of depression as mentioned, e.g. emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physiological. 


Contact us to enquire more about our therapies available.


Parenting a child with Depression  

Parenting in itself is not an easy feat. At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we recognise the need to support parents and caregivers through:

    • Educating caregivers of children and youths with special needs e.g., workshops and webinars at Thrive Psychology Clinic
    • Providing advice on how to manage their stress
    • Developing their skill in identifying the ABC’s (i.e., antecedent, behaviour, and consequence) such as P.O.W.E.R. in Behavioural Therapy (preview video displayed below)
    • Encouraging caregivers to accept their child with special needs and not feel despair
    • Creating self-help online resources for parents who wish to educate themselves more
    • Regularly providing complimentary educational resources by subscribing to our mailing list and social media platforms