Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
A couple of months ago, I started tracking my period and keeping a diary of the symptoms and signs I experienced throughout the month. Besides the obvious signs such as bloating and breast tenderness, I also noticed a huge hit that my mental health took around the same time each month. At first, I blamed PMS and called it a day. However, once my mood swings started interfering with my daily life, I started doing some research (I promise I am not a hypochondriac). This is how I discovered premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Although I have not been officially diagnosed with PMDD, I learned a lot about it.
What is PMDD?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a real mood disorder that may affect women of childbearing age. (1) PMDD is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), and its symptoms can often collide with symptoms of other personality disorders, which is why it is hard to diagnose.
PMDD Diagnosis (Diagnostic Criteria)
PMDD is a disorder characterized by depressive symptoms that occur at the time of the menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, the cause of PMDD is unknown. In order to be diagnosed with PMDD, at least 5 symptoms have to be present before menses (the time of menstruation), improve during menses, and subside or disappear after menses. Symptoms include but are not limited to :
- Severe mood swings
- Pronounced irritability or anger
- Depressed mood
- Noticeable anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of interest in doing anything
- Being overwhelmed
- Severe fatigue
- Noise sensitivity
You might be thinking, “Most of us experience these symptoms nowadays.” While that is true, note that in PMDD these symptoms occur around the same time each month, which is a week or two prior to starting your period. Another thing to take into consideration is the severity of the symptoms. Symptoms that individuals with PMDD experience are so severe that they interfere with work, school, and other daily activities.
Different treatment approaches used to reduce to symptoms nowadays are:
- Lifestyle changes
- Regular exercise
- Frequent and regular small balanced meals
- Regular sleep
- No drinking
- No smoking
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Stress management