Emmerdale – has Cathy Hope left for good?

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

Emmerdale aired exit scenes for Cathy Hope this week, as the struggling teen decided to take some time out from the village.

Cathy has spent the past few months at the centre of a big storyline, as she recently learned that she could be suffering from a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

The schoolgirl's troubles have come to a head in recent days, which ultimately led to her saying some emotional goodbyes. But what does it all mean for her future in the show?

Has Cathy left Emmerdale for good?

cathy hope and samson dingle, emmerdale

Cathy's exit scenes were full of emotion as she said her goodbyes to Brenda, Wendy and her twin brother Heath, before her dad Bob drove her off.

Despite the tears, it's not the last time that we'll see Cathy in the show.

Digital Spy's sources have confirmed that Gabrielle Dowling, who has played the role of Cathy since she was a newborn baby, is taking a short break from the ITV soap and will return at a later date.

Why did Cathy leave the village?

cathy hope, amelia spencer, emmerdale

Cathy has sparked concern for her wellbeing over the past few months, as she has struggled with heavy periods and subsequent mood swings.

More recently, as Cathy pushed for an explanation over her symptoms, she was told that she might be suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). The symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but are much more severe – including feeling anxious, angry and depressed.

According to the NHS website, PMDD "can have a much greater negative impact on your daily activities and quality of life".

cathy and heath hope in emmerdale

Cathy's family have tried to help her by enquiring about special consideration for her GCSE exams. However, the school confirmed that an access arrangement couldn't be organised without a formal diagnosis. This means that Cathy will have to be held back at school for another year and take her exams in 2024 instead.

Cathy had always planned to pay a visit to the Lake District to see her half-brother Scott Windsor, but she brought the trip forward as she realised that she needed some time out.

She told Bob last week: "I'm not sitting my exams. I can't stay here. I just can't. I feel like I'm on display, all the time. Everyone just waiting for me to break down or freak out. It'll be so less stressful up there, and Heath can concentrate on his exams."

Bob agreed that Cathy would be better off spending time somewhere away from people she knows, so he supported her plans.

When will Cathy be back and what happens next?

bob hope, cathy, emmerdale

No exact date has been given for Cathy's return, as she told her friends that she'd be gone "for a bit". April Windsor suggested coming to visit her in the summer to see how she was doing.

It seems likely that Cathy's big storyline will be revisited when she's back, as Emmerdale bosses had previously tipped it as one the show was particularly proud of.

Speaking late last year, executive producer Jane Hudson told Digital Spy and other media: "You'll see a really big story for Cathy, Bob's daughter, which is really emotional. It's her first big story really and it's a challenging one and I think it's one that a lot of parents will connect with. It's one I haven't seen a soap do before."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Information about how to access support is available via the NHS, and organisations who can offer help include Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393.

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