PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder affects about 5% of women. PMDD is PMS or premenstrual disorder that is so severe that is physically, mentally, or emotionally debilitating.
I have suffered from PMDD for the past 12 years, since I was 15 years old. All of my symptoms are immediately followed by my menstrual cycle each month. I experience severe depression during this time. I get feelings of not wanting to leave my home. I literally become a recluse.
My anxiety level increases. I go into crying spells that are often unsubstantiated. Sometimes they are caused by me feeling like I am being criticized when that is usually not the case. I will experience mild panic attacks when in shopping malls or anywhere that there are large crowds. Normally I am able to handle situations like this just fine.
I get angry and yell about simple things with my friends and family. This happens to the point where I have lost many friends over the years because of my volatility. This has left me very lonely at many points in my life.
I will lose interest in my favorite activities. These are activities that I generally enjoy such as reading and crocheting. I am currently going through a PMDD episode as I am writing this. I have an unfinished crocheting project that is just sitting there but I am not interested in even touching it. I am an avid reader. When I go through a PMDD episode, I can barely read a page that is even if I even decide to pick up the book that I am currently reading.
I always know when my PMDD symptoms are going to begin to kick in because I start craving chocolate. Any other time I don’t even like to eat chocolate. But when it begins I just have to have a chocolate bar. Any kind of chocolate bar, it doesn’t matter what kind.
I will always look for the closeness of a male and become frustrated when I don’t receive it. I become with myself, feeling like there is something wrong with me. I also get bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint pain.
According to a study published in “Biological Psychology” which was led by Susan Girdler Ph.D., women suffering from PMDD have a higher level of sensitivity and response to pain and stress. Five or more of the list of symptoms are required for a diagnosis of PMDD. Personally, I experience 12 out of the 15 symptoms. This has definitely become a struggle two weeks out of every month for me.
If you are experience these symptoms as well, I hope this brings some clarity to you. The FDA has approved some anti-depressants for treatment of PMDD. Please speak to your physician immediately.