Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman, Lawrence H. Price

Recurrent Brief Depressive Disorder

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27772-6_376-2


RBD; Recurrent brief depression (obsolete: periodic melancholia, intermittent depressive disorder, very brief depression, intermittent 3-day depression)


Recurrent brief depressive disorder (RBD) is a well-defined and prevalent mood disorder with an increased risk of suicidal behavior and significant clinical impairment (Angst 1994; Pezawas et al. 2003). The syndrome is defined by depressive episodes that occur at least monthly and last only a few days. RBD represents a distinct and frequent clinical diagnosis in ICD-10 (F38.1) (WHO 2010). In the recently published DSM-5 (311.1), RBD is featured in the category “other specified depressive disorder” together with short-duration depressive episodes and depressive syndromes with insufficient symptoms (APA 2013). In both diagnostic manuals, psychopathological symptoms required for the diagnosis of RBD are the same as for major depressive disorder (MDD) (WHO 2010; APA 2013). Hence, RBD is primarily diagnosed by its...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Andersson S, Lovdahl H, Malt UF (2010) Neuropsychological function in unmedicated recurrent brief depression. J Affect Disord 125(1–3):155–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angst J (1994) Recurrent brief depression. In: Hippius H, Stefanis CN (eds) Research in mood disorders: an update. Hogrefe & Huber, Seattle, pp 17–30Google Scholar
  3. APA (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition: DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Baldwin DS (2003) Recurrent brief depression – more investigations in clinical samples are now required. Psychol Med 33(3):383–386PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kasper S, Stamenkovic M, Pezawas L (2000) Recurrent brief depression: diagnosis, epidemiology and potential pharmacological options. In: Palmer KJ (ed) Managing depressive disorders. Adis International, Auckland/Philadelphia, pp 29–36Google Scholar
  6. Korsnes MS, Lovdahl H, Andersson S, Bjornerud A, Due-Tonnesen P, Endestad T, Malt UF (2013) Working memory in recurrent brief depression: an fMRI pilot study. J Affect Disord 149(1–3):383–392PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lovdahl H, Andersson S, Hynnekleiv T, Malt UF (2009) The phenomenology of recurrent brief depression with and without hypomanic features. J Affect Disord 112(1–3):151–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Pezawas L, Angst J, Gamma A, Ajdacic V, Eich D, Rossler W (2003) Recurrent brief depression – past and future. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 27(1):75–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Pezawas L, Angst J, Kasper S (2005) Recurrent brief depression revisited. Int Rev Psychiatry 17(1):63–70PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. WHO (2010) The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioral disorders: clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines, 4th edition of ICD-10. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division of Biological PsychiatryMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria