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  • PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is the more severe form of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Like PMS, PMDD usually occurs the week before the onset of menstruation and disappears a few days after. PMDD is characterized by severe monthly mood swings and physical symptoms that interfere with everyday life, especially a woman's relationships with her family and friends. PMDD symptoms go far beyond what are considered normal or manageable premenstrual symptoms. 

  • PMDD affects 3 to 5 percent of menstruating women in the United
PMDD Diagnosis

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*, in order to make the diagnosis of PMDD, five or more of the following symptoms must occur during the week or two before the menstrual period and dissipate a few days after the onset of the menstrual period (during most menstrual cycles in the past year):

  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Depressed mood
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased interest in normal activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lethargy
  • Marked change in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Sense of being overwhelmed
  • Physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness and bloating 
  • One or more of these symptoms must be depressed mood, tension, mood swings or irritability.
  • Symptoms must significantly interfere with everyday activities or
  • Symptoms are not an exacerbation of another disorder.
  • All of the above should be confirmed during at least two consecutive
    menstrual cycles.

Click here for more information on PMDD.

Click here for more information about depression or other mental health issues.

* American Psychiatric Association, Washington D.C., 1994:715-718. (Fourth Edition)

Created: 6/21/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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