PMS (Premenstral Syndrome) or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)?

Definition of PMDD:

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a mood disorder that occurs at certain times in the menstrual cycle. Many women experience premenstrual syndrome PMS), and this may be thought of as the normal premenstrual experience. PMS symptoms are similar to those of PMDD. However, in PMDD the symptoms are severe enough to significantly impair, prevent or reduce the quality of social and personal relationships, home-life, work or study. PMDD affects between 3 to 5 per cent of women.

Many symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of depression. PMDD is distinguished from depression by the cyclical pattern and the typical physical symptoms. The core symptoms of PMDD that are similar to depression include:

  • intense feelings of unhappiness.

  • being unable to see a positive future.

  • feelings of worthlessness – feeling useless at everything.

  • increased sensitivity to rejection or criticism.

  • feeling suddenly sad or tearful.

  • crying a lot for no particular reason.

  • marked anxiety or tension – a feeling of being keyed up or on edge.

  • persistent and marked anger, irritability or an increase in conflicts with other people.

  • finding it hard to be with people. losing interest in usual activities (eg work, school, friends, hobbies).

  • difficulty concentrating.

  • feeling tired all the time, or having less energy than usual.

  • increases in appetite, binge or comfort eating – especially of salty or sweet foods.

  • sleeping more than usual, or (in a smaller group of sufferers) being unable to sleep.

  • feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control.

Other symptoms that are common and more specific to PMDD include:

  • physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain.

  • an altered view of one’s body – a sensation of ‘bloating’, feeling fat or actual weight gain.

When do these symptoms occur?

Women’s menstrual cycles are not all the same length. Typically, a cycle lasts from 24 to 35 days. However, in some women the cycle can be as short as 21 days or as long as 42 days. Because of this, the timing of the symptoms varies slightly from woman to woman.

In all cases of PMDD the pattern is:

  • the symptoms occur during the week before menstruation.
  • the symptoms decrease during the menstrual bleed.
  • the week following menstruation is symptom-free, but in women with longer cycles this symptom-free time can be longer.

Normal treatment is to prescribe oral contraceptive or antidepressants, usually Prozac (fluoxetine).  Other antidepressants, including Lustral (sertraline) and Seroxat (paoxetine) have been prescribed.

Oral contraceptives have side effects, but more importantly antidepressant drugs have a long list of side effects some of which can be life threatening.  For alternatives to antidepressants see below:

Studies have shown that changes in diet can help. Increasing intake of foods rich in complex carbohydrates (such as pasta and rice) and cutting down on dietary fat and caffeine may help some women.  Though I belive that a high carbohydrate diet is not the best nutrition-wise.

Taking B Complex Supplement has been known to increase and elevate mood.  Start with a small dose and then increase slowly until you find the right dosage for you.

Someone close to me has PMDD. What should I do?This article is for informational purposes only and are the views of the writer.  In the United States no one legally can give medical advice.  Ensure that you consult the physical healer of your choice.

  • It is important to be supportive and understanding.
  • Encourage her to seek help from a n alternative medical doctor, before the symptoms prevent her carrying out normal, day-to-day activities.

All information posted in this writing is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.  It is not to be construed as medical advice.  Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States.  Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.


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2 Responses to “PMS (Premenstral Syndrome) or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)?”

  1. Annelen Says:

    I’m Anna. 45 years old,single mum of 17yr old boy(who has survived me incredibly well).
    A brief history of my life for the reader:
    Raised by alcoholic mother in Germany
    Experienced large periods of physical and/or emotional violence with first memory of such dating back to age 3.
    Arrived in Australia 1974, aged 11.
    B’ween 11 and 15 years of age was further sexually and emotionally abused by a step-parent, regularly received severe violent beatings and was consequently made ward of state, sniffed glue, drank anything, took any tablets avail and smoked whatever I could grab hold of
    Was gang raped and bashed at 14yrs old
    Had first out of three abortions at age 15, which resulted in two discs out of place in my spine,amongst other complications.(I’ve documented these early teenage traumas for the sole purpose of researching a document I came across many years ago which claimed there to be a definite link of severe PMT in women who had undergone any of such experiences in their early years of childhood and/or during puberty.)
    Arrived In capital city aged 15, discovered amphetamines.
    Developed long term dependency on amphetamines.
    Went into drug and alcohol recovery in 1993, when my son was 2yrs.
    Stayed straight and sober until July 1997-years during which I learned to understand myself a little bit better,learned strategies for living a life abstinent from mind and mood altering substances and practised these as best as I could, and began to accept PMT as a very real condition which was affecting me and causing the aches and pains that I was aware of suffering regularly, as well as many other supressed physical symptoms-coupled with regular violent emotional outbursts. These I always described as ‘overcoming me quite suddenly and unexpectedly,accompanied by enormous feelings of unexplained blind violent rage’, and that I believed them to be beyond my control; Ithought of them as ‘ the badness within me , unable to be controlled, unable to be remedied and to be endured by me forever with all the accompanying feelings of shame, guilt and fear.
    After much group counselling and years of weekly psychotherapy , began a course of prozac which made a ‘remarkable’ difference tome; 20 mths later went off antidepressants and onto dexamphetamine medication.
    Spent the next ten years from 1997 to 2007 delving back into illegal amphetamine usage, as well as trying to stay in control of my prescribed intake of the substance, and trying to come to terms with the fact that PMT still plays absolute havoc with my life.
    Collected as much information as I could on PMT which I intend to share with anyone who has an interest and/or knowledge of the topic; am looking to receive feedback, hoping to get answers as well as explanations to many isolated bits of collected information which, over the years,I’ve never been able to have followed up, placed in context or even confirmed by anyone.
    This is my first ever blog and I chose the topic of PMT because it still rules my life, because I want to learn more about it, because I hope to possibly write at least one comprehensive article at some point in my future including everything I’ve learned about PMT and explained in a way that it might be able to reach that percentage of females within society who may as yet not have come to the realization that they aren’t ” total arseholes deep down who abuse anyone they come in feel like”, as well as provide enough examples of the all the different ways PMT can manifest in us, then go on to offer up a broad variety of strategies and remedies for women to choose from in hope of finding some relief from the condition. All of this of course underlined by the fact that some of the solutions provided through research may work for some women, whilst there is the definite possibility that for other sufferers nothing may bring any degree of relief except for the knowledge that “no – they definitely are not “Beasts”.
    I’ll conclude with saying that my menstrual cycle which I’ve charted for the last 10 years is a 26 day cycle: 12 to 14 days after my menses have finished I have one -always frighteniong- day during which my PMT symptoms seem to rage at full strength,after which I get a reprieve again until minimum 8 days before may next menses , when without fail I begin to suffer from a variety of symptoms – varying in severity from month to month – until the onset of menses: I’ve just entered that eight day nightmare today! Depending on the difficulty I have coping with my combined symptoms ,I am at times still prone to medicating myself with illegal stimulants, something which creates great conflict in my psyche and which I try to totally disguise from everybody; if I don’t go that way I almost definitely take more than my prescribed dosage of stimulants,(prescribed to me for’Adult Attention Deficit Disorder’), also carefully accounted for and kept secret from my prescribing doctor for fear that I might be taken off this substance if discovered.
    ( I repeatedly document my reliance on amphetamine type substances to cope with my PMT with the sole purpose of exploring something I read on the internet many years ago which claimed that ‘substances like prozac and dexamphetamine have been known to be relied uon for relief from PMT and its accompanying physical pains.) I sincerely this hope my blog reaches you, the reader(s), and will scan for any follow up comments as well as make a promise myself that if I do not hear anything after posting this blog I will ‘keep on trying’ now that I’ve started on this particular aspect of my journey. Thanks for Your consideration, and although I have hardly any idea on blogging and how it all works, if there is a way that we could come into conversation I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have of me in relation to my blog and provide more information if you seek it.


  2. Your Friend Says:


    Prescription amphetamines (speed) are dangerous, highly addictive drugs such as Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, Cylert, and Adderall. PLEASE read my other articles on these drugs!!! They can cause the following side effects:

    * Irregular heartbeat
    * Stomach upset
    * Talkativeness
    * Euphoria
    * Sleep deprivation
    * Lethal Seizures
    * Restlessness
    * Confusion
    * Paranoia
    * Irritability
    * Aggression
    * Dangerously high body temperatures
    * Heart attack
    * Hallucinations
    * Death

    The withdrawal symptoms are similar to the withdrawal from cocaine: depression, irritability, fatigue, oversleeping, overeating, loss of memory, and confused thoughts.

    Too often individuals go into a doctor’s office requesting drugs that they have heard about and the doctor freely writes the prescription when he would have never offered it in the first place. Most doctors do not have time to research or keep up with the fast, changing evidence of drug interactions, side effectes, etc. There are just too many on the market today.

    Which amphetamine are you taking? Is it prescribed by a doctor?

    With much concern,
    Your Friend

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