# Recursive Functions in Python

Learn to create a recursive function in Python that calls itself.

## What is recursion?

**Recursion is the process of repeating items or operations in a self-similar way**.

In Python, if your program allows you to call a function inside the same function, then it is called a ** Recursive Function**.

Recursion is an advanced and to some extent ** an unused topic**. However, it is useful to know about this technique, as it allows you to deal with arbitrary structures and unpredictable shapes.

**Example of Recursive Functions**

**Example of Recursive Functions**

Letâ€™s calculate the ** factorial of a number in Python**.

Ideally, you would do this by using a for loop.

**Code**

```
num = 5
factorial = 1
for i in range(1, num+1):
factorial *= i
print(factorial)
```

**Output**

`120`

**Pretty straightforward, right?**

You can also do it using ** Recursion**.

**Code - Using Recursion**

```
def factorial(x):
if x == 1:
return 1
else:
# call the function again
return (x * factorial(x-1))
num = 5
print(factorial(num))
```

**Output**

`120`

When you call this function with a positive integer, it will keep calling itself recursively by decreasing the number.

Each function call multiplies the number with the factorial of the number until it is ** equal to one**.

```
factorial(5) # First function call
5 * factorial(4) # 2nd function call with 4
5 * 4 * factorial(3) # 3rd function call with 3
5 * 4 * 3 * factorial(2) # 4th function call with 2
5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * factorial(1) # 5th function call with 1
5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1
120
```

Basically, when the ** factorial()** function returned 1, the recursion stopped. This is called

**.**

**Base Condition****Every recursive function should have a base condition, otherwise, the recursion continues** ** infinitely**.

The Python interpreter limits the depths of recursion to help avoid infinite recursions. By default, the maximum depth of recursion is ** 1000**. If the limit is crossed, it results in

`RecursionError`

.**Advantages of Recursion**

**Advantages of Recursion**

- Recursive functions look clean and elegant.
- It can break down complex problems into multiple small problems using recursion.

**Disadvantages of Recursion**

**Disadvantages of Recursion**

- Can be difficult to understand.
- Recursion is expensive.
- They are also hard to debug.