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TABLE 1

Depressive Symptoms and Examples in Adolescents

Signs and Symptoms of Major Depressive DisorderSigns of Depression Frequently Seen in Youth
Depressed mood most of the day Irritable or cranky mood; preoccupation with song lyrics that suggest life is meaningless 
Decreased interest/enjoyment in once-favorite activities Loss of interest in sports, video games, and activities with friends 
Significant weight loss/gain Failure to gain weight as normally expected; anorexia or bulimia; frequent complaints of physical illness; eg, headache, stomach ache 
Insomnia or hypersomnia Excessive late-night TV; refusal to wake for school in the morning 
Psychomotor agitation/retardation Talk of running away from home, or efforts to do so 
Fatigue or loss of energy Persistent boredom 
Low self-esteem; feelings of guilt Oppositional and/or negative behavior 
Decreased ability to concentrate; indecisive Poor performance in school; frequent absences 
Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior (writing about death; giving away favorite toys or belongings) 
Signs and Symptoms of Major Depressive DisorderSigns of Depression Frequently Seen in Youth
Depressed mood most of the day Irritable or cranky mood; preoccupation with song lyrics that suggest life is meaningless 
Decreased interest/enjoyment in once-favorite activities Loss of interest in sports, video games, and activities with friends 
Significant weight loss/gain Failure to gain weight as normally expected; anorexia or bulimia; frequent complaints of physical illness; eg, headache, stomach ache 
Insomnia or hypersomnia Excessive late-night TV; refusal to wake for school in the morning 
Psychomotor agitation/retardation Talk of running away from home, or efforts to do so 
Fatigue or loss of energy Persistent boredom 
Low self-esteem; feelings of guilt Oppositional and/or negative behavior 
Decreased ability to concentrate; indecisive Poor performance in school; frequent absences 
Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior Recurrent suicidal ideation or behavior (writing about death; giving away favorite toys or belongings) 

(Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.)

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