April is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Awareness month. What a mouthful of a disorder, right? Also, what is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)? Think of her as the evil, more irritating older sister of PMS.
One week before menses, someone with PMDD will experience some of the following. They may improve as menses start, and be absent the week after menses:
• Mood swings, hypersensitivity to rejection, sadness
•Irritability, anger, provoking battles
•Depression, hopelessness, feeling bad
•Anxiety, feelings of being on edge, tension
Additionally, there may be other features such as:
•Decreased interest in things one usually does
•Inability to concentrate
•Lack of energy
•Lack of appetite, increased appetite or specific cravings
•Changes in sleep
•Feeling overwhelmed or not in control
•PMS symptoms: breast tenderness, joint pains, muscle aches, bloating
This occurs for most months for at least a year
The symptoms may affect the person’s work, school, relationships and social life. This is different from PMS, wherein someone may experience the above symptoms but not have it affect their life as much as with PMDD.
According to the DSM-V, PMDD occurs in about 1.8 to 5.8% of people who menstruate. It can occur at any stage in a menstruating person’s life after they begin with menses, and the symptoms usually stop after menopause. And, apparently, those who use the pill to prevent pregnancy have less risk of PMDD than those who do not. In fact, Yaz, a combined-hormone pill, has been approved as treatment for PMDD.
Someone with PMDD may have similar issues to a person with a depressive disorder, except that the person only feels the depression during the PMS time.
April is PMDD awareness month. Say, might you know anyone with PMDD? Or her kinder, more gentle sister, PMS? Neither of them are easy to deal with, but, while someone with PMS might require only a hot water bottle, milk chocolate and a bouquet of flowers to feel better, a person with PMDD will need much more than that…perhaps therapy, medication, or both.
PMS’s more sinister, irritating older sister is work, and ours is to be kind, be gentle and caring, because babyyyyyyyy, that time of the month is HECTIC!