Unveiling the Layers of Recurrent Depressive Disorder: A Compassionate Exploration

Hey you,  today I am tackling the depths of Recurrent Depressive Disorder (RDD), a mental health condition characterised by recurring episodes of depression. Its gunna be a long one so please grab a cuppa and some snacks (no this is not the time to say I am on a diet we are learning here and need the sugar) and lets delve into some details about symptoms, causes, treatments and so much more about RDD!

recurrent depressive disorder, multiple of the same, black and white

Understanding Recurrent Depressive Disorder (RDD)


Recurrent Depressive Disorder, also known as Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a form of depression marked by repeated episodes of intense sadness and other symptoms interfering with daily life. Daily life would be things like personal hygiene (showering, brushing your teeth, brushing your hair etc), sleep, eating, work and general social interaction. What distinguishes RDD from the other types of depression is the occurrence of distinct periods without any depressive symptoms, making it a cyclical (full circle from good to bad to good again) and reoccurring condition.

Contributing Factors to Recurrent Depressive Disorder

Various factors contribute to the development and recurrence of depressive episodes, including:

  • Genetic predisposition (for example you may just naturally be more susceptible to depression because your mum or dad have had or have the condition in some degree)
  • Neurobiological factors (This one comes with science thats hard to explain so I thought I would link the study to help you answer this one)
  • Personality traits
  • Environmental stressors (for example you might be struggling financially and can’t afford to eat well, pay rent or maybe you have a nightmare boss)
  • Traumatic life events 
  • Chronic medical conditions

Understanding these factors is vital for creating effective strategies to manage and prevent recurrent episodes.

Symptoms of Recurrent Depressive Disorder

The symptoms of RDD mirror those of Major Depressive Disorder, including:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or oversleeping)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
a slighly slim man who has not slept RDD, Recurrent Depressive Disorder

Diagnosis and Differentiation

Diagnosing RDD involves a careful evaluation of a person's history of depressive episodes. Distinguishing between recurrent depressive episodes and chronic depression is crucial for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. The cycles of depressive episodes would need to include the full loop effect where the patient (you for example) would need to show periods of good (NOT MANIC) moods and lower moods aligned with symptoms of depression maybe caused by periods of tough times or just generally. 

Treatment Approaches for RDD

Managing RDD often requires a comprehensive approach that may include:

Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy have shown effectiveness in addressing recurrent depressive episodes. From experience this can be helpful for depression in general and allows you to sit with your emotions and trace it back. CBT is not an overnight fix (believe me) but it allows you to eventually pinpoint triggers, explore and explain emotions to loved ones or doctors and just understand what you need in general. A lot of CBT can be self taught or it can be done with a therapist, if you have gone to the GP this is typically the starting point for them.

Medication: Antidepressant medications may be prescribed to help regulate mood. I have linked my more recent blog that really breaks down the types of anti-depressants and how they all work. Its sciencey but I promise its simpler than you think and can give you great insight into what the GP might prescribe you and if that don’t work an idea that might.

Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep, can contribute to overall wellbeing. Typically like CBT this takes time ad you will have off days where it just is not possible to keep up with the “good stuff”. Don’t feel guilt on these days as there is not one person on earth that doesn’t have a day like that! I plan to go into lifestyle another time in more detail maybe share my routine and how I have changed over the years.

Coping Strategies and Support

Living with RDD (Recurrent Depressive Disorder) involves you developing effective coping mechanisms and building a strong support system. Strategies such as stress management, self-care practices, and maintaining open communication with loved ones can be very important in navigating the challenges of recurrent depressive episodes.


Recurrent Depressive Disorder will likely present challenges at first, but with understanding, support, and tailored healing plans, individuals such as you can embark on a journey towards resilience and mental health wellbeing. If you or someone you know is facing RDD, remember that seeking professional help and building a support network are some of the essential steps on the path to healing… as well as supporting The Affordable Therapy Co., so I can keep spreading knowledge and of course f**k the stigma.


meditation for mental health, coping skills

Do you know anyone struggling with Recurrent Depressive Disorder? This one was one I learned about recently and it seems so hard so anyone who is struggling with navigating RDD please know I send my love and we are here for you!🌟💙 #RecurrentDepression #MentalHealthJourney #UnderstandingRDD


Founder, The Affordable Therapy Co.


 **Disclosure:** Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps support the creation of valuable content. I only recommend products and services that I genuinely believe in and have used myself in my mental health journey. Your support is greatly appreciated!

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