It is normal for children to feel sad, irritable or upset at times. However, prolonged or intense changes in mood can be a sign of a mood disorder. Mood disorders can have wide-ranging effects on children, teens and their families. The toll on a child’s physical health, performance in school, family and social relationships and overall well-being can be devastating.
The Mood Disorders Program at Children's National Hospital is a specialized treatment clinic dedicated to helping children and teens with mood disorders live happy and healthy lives.
What are Mood Disorders?
Mood disorders are one of the most common mental health problems affecting children and adolescents. Our program is dedicated to treating a wide range of mood disorders, including:
- Major depression. A serious condition that involves persistent sadness, hopelessness and other symptoms.
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia). Depression that is less severe but more long-lasting than major depression.
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. A mood disorder that is characterized by repeated temper outbursts and persistent irritable or angry mood.
- Bipolar disorder. A type of depression that also includes severe mood changes to extreme elation and happiness.
Children and teens with mood disorders may exhibit:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns or weight
- Low energy or fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Extreme temper outbursts
- Aggressive behaviors
- Difficult relationships with family and friends
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or helpless
Mood disorders can cause other symptoms as well. Parents are in a unique position to see behavior changes and problems in their children. We take your concerns seriously and listen carefully to your observations. In addition to getting psychotherapy support, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression.
How We Help
Features of Our Program
Expert Pediatric Specialists
Ongoing Support and Education
Finding New Ways to Help
At Children’s National Hospital, we understand that families have many questions about their child’s condition and care. In addition to any resources your provider may give you, our online resources can also support your ongoing treatment journey.