Is PMDD a mental health problem?

Over 80 percent of women experience some level of physical and emotional problems during this time, but only 3 to 8 percent meet the definition of PMDD. It is most commonly seen in women who are in their late 30s through their mid 40s. PMDD is commonly defined as an endocrine disorder, meaning that it is a hormone-related disorder. But as well as physical symptoms, people with PMDD also experience a range of different mental health symptoms such as depression and suicidal feelings. For these reasons, it has recently been listed as a mental health problem in the DSM-5 (one of the main manuals that doctors use to categorise and diagnose mental health problems).

What are the causes of PMDD?

The exact causes are still not fully understood but some possible factors are:

  • Being very sensitive to changes in hormone levels. Recent research suggests that PMDD is associated with increased sensitivity to the normal hormonal changes that occur during your monthly menstrual cycle.
  • Genetics. Some research suggests that this increased sensitivity to changes in hormone levels may be caused by genetic variations.

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

If you have PMDD, you might find that you experience some of symptoms listed below. But it’s different for different people, so you might also experience other kinds of feelings which aren’t listed here.

Emotional experiences:

  • mood swings
  • feeling upset or tearful
  • feeling angry or irritable
  • feelings of anxiety
  • feeling hopeless
  • feelings of tension or being on edge
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • lack of energy
  • less interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • suicidal feelings.

Physical and behavioural experiences:

  • breast tenderness or swelling
  • pain in your muscles and joints
  • headaches
  • feeling bloated
  • changes in your appetite such as overeating or having specific food cravings
  • sleep problems
  • finding it hard to avoid or resolve conflicts with people around you
  • becoming very upset if you feel that others are rejecting you.

PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a major depressive disorder gaining more attention since its official inclusion in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (it had previously been listed as a disorder needing further research).

Should Severe Premenstrual Symptoms Be A Mental Disorder?

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