What Is Major Depressive Disorder With Recurrent Episodes?
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Major depressive disorder, also referred to as depression, is a mental health condition that involves frequent or chronic periods of low mood and reduced energy. These episodes can interfere with daily activities. Research estimates that nearly 20 million people in the U.S. have depression, which can make it difficult to get through each day. In fact, many people with depression have trouble performing tasks like showering, brushing their teeth and socializing with friends. 

Major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes is diagnosed when someone has multiple depressive episodes over time. When someone is first diagnosed with depression, they are given a “single episode” modifier. When someone has a second episode or more, they are given a “recurrent” modifier. 

Have you or your loved one recently been diagnosed with this disorder? If so, you probably want to find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatments. You’ll find what you need below.

What are the symptoms of major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes?

There are many symptoms that a person can experience as a result of major depressive disorder. The most common symptoms include:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Reduced energy level
  • Body aches
  • Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly
  • Slowed thoughts
  • Unusual changes in appetite
  • Unusual changes in sleep patterns

What are the causes of major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes?

The causes of major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes aren’t very well understood. However, it is believed that there are several components that can increase the likelihood of developing this type of mood disorder. These components include:


  • Family history — One of the potential top causes of major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes is family history. If you have a family member or relative with a history of depression, you may have a higher risk of having depression. 
  • Hormone levels — Another potential cause of major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes is unbalanced hormone levels. Hormone levels can become unbalanced for a variety of reasons. Some examples include pregnancy, thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, chronic stress and menopause. 
  • Brain chemistry — Brain chemistry is also believed to play a role in the development of major depressive disorder. Some people may have unique neurotransmitters and brain pathways that can contribute to depression and other mood disorders.

Which treatments can be used to improve major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes?

Has your major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes become detrimental to your quality of life? You can learn more about which treatments may work best for your particular mental health disorder here:

  • Psychotherapy — Psychotherapy is one of the most commonly used treatments to help someone who has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes. This form of treatment involves a client sitting down with a licensed clinical therapist. They work through the symptoms of a mental health disorder using a structural approach. One type of clinical approach that has been shown to be effective for treating clients with major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes is called process-based therapy (PBT). Process-based therapy is an approach that emphasizes treating clients as whole people, not just their diagnosis, and each client’s PBT treatment plan is designed specifically for that client. 
  • Medication — Medication is another type of treatment frequently used to treat major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes. Some of the medications used for this disorder include antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Lightfully can help you manage the symptoms of your major depressive disorder with recurrent episodes

Our mission at Lightfully is to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients. We believe in using a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. We have significant experience working with adults to improve the symptoms of their mental health disorders. We’re ready to help you work through yours.

Lightfully offers various levels of care to both adults and teens: Residential Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also referred to as our Day Treatment Program. We also offer a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) for adults. If you’re an adult experiencing the effects of a depressive disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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