Types of Depression: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

We can all get depressed from time to time but sometimes, the source of our depression can be a health issue rather than a particular set of circumstances. 

Depression can affect us all regardless of age or gender. But if you’re a woman and you are currently experiencing low moods, anxiety and severe irritability, it might be that you have a form of chronic depression known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. 

Here’s all you need to know about the condition.

What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms in women in the days leading up to their period. 

PMDD occurs during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This is the time between ovulation and the day the period starts. It is a severe condition that requires attention and treatment, so if you recognise the symptoms of PMDD listed below, get in touch with our team to learn more about our mental health services

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

PMDD can affect people in different ways so you may not experience every symptom that is listed below. But if you can relate to one or more of the following symptoms, it is important to get the treatment you need to help you manage the condition.

Emotional experiences

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Severe fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy

Physical experiences

  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Swelling of ankles, knees and feet
  • Pain in joints and muscles
  • Vision changes
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Backache
  • Pelvic heaviness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Behavioural experiences

  • Increased anger with the people around you
  • Feelings of paranoia

This list is not exhaustive as you may experience other symptoms that haven’t been included here. But regardless of what you are going through, seek help from a doctor or a mental health professional such as ourselves as the sooner you seek treatment the better. 

How is PMDD different from major depressive disorder?

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, can affect anyone and shares symptoms common with PMDD. It is one of the most common health conditions in the United States, and like other forms of depression, it can be treated with medication and psychotherapy. 

While PMDD shares symptoms with MDD, such as sadness, irritability, tiredness, and suicidal thoughts, this condition affects only women in the days leading up to their periods. Symptoms usually last for a period of 2-3 weeks, whereas people with MDD can sometimes experience symptoms for several weeks or months at a time. 

Who is at risk of PMDD?

Any woman can develop PMDD but some women are more at risk than others. These include women who have:

  • A family history of PMS or PMDD
  • A personal or family history of depression or other mood disorders
  • A history of smoking
  • Stress caused by a severe trauma

What are the causes of PMDD?

The exact causes of PMDD are not fully understood, but research suggests it could be linked to increased sensitivity to the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. Research has suggested other causes too, such as smoking which can impact hormone sensitivity, genetic variations, and stress

Is PMDD a mental health problem?

As people with PMDD can experience various mental health symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and suicidal feelings, this condition has been classified as a mental health problem. As such, it is wise to seek the support of a mental health specialist who can diagnose your symptoms and suggest the necessary treatment plans. 

How is PMDD diagnosed?

As PMDD is a mood disorder, it cannot be diagnosed through blood tests or medical imaging. Instead, your doctor or mental health specialist will ask you to list and keep a record of the symptoms you are experiencing. They will also ask you about your lifestyle and medical history to determine the possible causes of the symptoms you are going through. 

In some cases, you might be experiencing another form of depression or you might have PME (premenstrual exacerbation), which is similar to PMDD but which can be a direct result of MDD or another depression disorder.

PMDD can be determined after an evaluation of your symptoms. Following the diagnosis, your healthcare provider will advise the treatments that are listed in the next section. 

How is PMDD treated?

There are a number of treatments for PMDD and your healthcare provider will discuss these with you. Some treatments will work better for you than others and will be based on your personal preferences and any plans you might have for getting pregnant. 

Treatments include:

  • Hormonal birth control
  • Antidepressants
  • Over-the-counter pain medications (to ease any physical symptoms)
  • Dietary changes (such as a reduction in caffeine and foods that are fatty or full of sugar)
  • Regular exercise to help regulate your mood
  • Stress-management tools, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises

As with other mental health conditions, Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be used to help you change any negative thoughts that come from your depression. 

Get Help With Peaks Recovery

If you’re experiencing symptoms related to PMDD or know somebody who is, reach out to Peaks Recovery today. We provide mental health services for clients in Colorado and have a team of people on hand to support any client experiencing a form of mental health disorder. 

To learn more, browse our website for more information and get in touch with our team for an explanation of the services we provide. 

When you’re feeling depressed, the worst thing you can do is struggle alone, so talk to us and benefit from the treatment plan we can offer you.

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.