Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: It's Not Just Really Bad PMS

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

PMS can vary from woman to woman, month to month. A disorder is diagnosed when symptoms are super-severe every month.

The Office on Women's Health defines PMDD thus:

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts. You may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms.

Do some quick math, and you'll realize that PMDD can dominate a woman's life for up to seventeen days out of each month--that's up to roughly 57% of her life!

And while women experiencing the much more common PMS (which affects approximately 100% of women on one level or another at least occasionally, while PMDD is diagnosed in only 5% of us) may ironically complain that, "My life is over!"--to those with PMDD, that statement might seem to ring more literally true.

This is not to trivialize PMS. "Regular" old premenstrual syndrome sucks. There's a reason women used to be confined to bed while experiencing their "moonblood," and even the most liberated of us have probably secretly wished at least once that we still had that excuse to hide from the world during this time!

Symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people

  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide

  • Feelings of tension or anxiety

  • Panic attacks