The exact cause of recurrent depressive disorder (RDD) is unknown, although some potential risk factors have been identified. These include genetic factors, family history of depression, severe psychosocial stress and certain medical conditions.
The diagnosis of RDD is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the individual’s symptoms and medical history. The evaluation may include a physical exam and laboratory tests to rule out other medical conditions. The individual must meet the criteria for a major depressive episode as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Differential diagnosis includes other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders, as well as medical conditions that can cause depression-like symptoms, such as thyroid disorders and certain medications.
Treatment of RDD typically includes a combination of antidepressant medications, psychotherapy and lifestyle changes. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and prevent future depressive episodes.
The prognosis for individuals with RDD can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. Generally, with appropriate treatment, individuals can often experience significant improvements in symptoms and a return to their previous level of functioning.