Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Also known as: depression, anxiety, mental health disorders, affective disorders, and others.

What are mood and anxiety disorders?

Mood and anxiety disorders cover a wide range of conditions that fall under the umbrella of mental health disorders. Common mood disorders (affective disorders) include all types of depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder and others. Mood disorders in children/adolescents are more difficult to diagnose as they neither necessarily have the same symptoms nor express themselves as adults do. Mood disorders frequently coexist with other issues like anxiety, drug problems, and bad behavior.

All children have fears and worries every now and then. When however it persists for most days, for weeks, interfere with sleep, causes difficulty concentrating or makes the child/adolescent irritable and easy to upset, an anxiety state is diagnosed. There are a number of types of anxiety disorders which include; generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, separation anxiety, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and others.

What causes mood and anxiety disorders?

The causes of mood and anxiety disorders are multiple and varied. Some combination of genetics (running in families), changes in hormone levels, environmental factors such as grief, major or unexpected life changes and stress all appear to play a role.

What are the symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders?

While everyone feels sad or depressed at times, and symptoms can vary widely based on the specific condition. Common symptoms of mood disorders include:

  • persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness and/or hopelessness
  • a feeling of being inadequate with low self-esteem
  • guilt
  • difficulty with relationships
  • changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • fatigue and energy loss
  • irritability, hostility and aggression
  • lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • frequent physical complaints 
  • and many other symptoms

Anxiety brings extreme worry, fear, negative thoughts, shortness of breath and other symptoms.

What are mood and anxiety disorders care options?

Mood and anxiety disorders, depending on the diagnosis, are typically treated by alleviating a precipitating factor, with a combination of medication and psychotherapy (frequently cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal plus family therapy).


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 11/19/2019 4:21:32 PM

Pediatric Psychology

The Pediatric Psychology team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses a multidisciplinary and family centered treatment approach for a variety of illnesses and conditions.

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​F.O.C.U.S. Program

8 week program. This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. The weekly sessions teach innovative techniques to assist children with managing feelings, developing organization skills, maximizing their concentration abilities and socialization skills. Learn more.

Social Skills Group

8 week program. Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.

Calm Kids

8 week program. Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. Learn more.

Pain Management Group

8 week program. This program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7-18 through complex sensory experiences. Each session is created to teach participants evidenced-based techniques to better manage pain and improve overall quality of life. Learn more.

Teen Sleep Group

8 week program. This program is designed for teens ages 13-16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. The goal of this group is to give teens the tools and strategies they need in order to get more sleep and better quality sleep. Learn more.

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Depression

Depression is a common clinical condition that affects children and adolescent's mood and mental health. Clinical depression lasts for more than two weeks, and is severe enough to interfere with everyday living. Learn more

Adjustment Disorders

An adjustment disorder is an unhealthy, excessive behavioral or emotional reaction to a difficult life event, which may be occur suddenly or ongoing for some time. Learn more

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by the almost uncontrollable urge to repeat the same behaviors or have the same thoughts/emotions over and over again such that they interfere with day-to-day functioning. Learn more

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a form of therapy and counseling that is conducted by a mental health professional, for example a psychologist, a licensed mental health counselor, social worker or a psychiatrist. Learn more

Psychiatric Evaluation

A psychiatric evaluation is an evaluation process with a mental health professional, designed to diagnose and treat (using both medications and other therapies), emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions or disorders. Learn more

Family Therapy

Family and group therapy are both forms of psychological counseling that involve multiple participants and can take many forms. Families can all go to therapy together to improve communication and address conflicts. Learn more

Psychiatric Evaluation

A psychiatric evaluation is an evaluation process with a mental health professional, designed to diagnose and treat (using both medications and other therapies), emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions or disorders. Learn more