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PMDD is Not Just Normal Moodiness

Sitcoms, as well as movies, poke fun at PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and female moodiness, but PMDD is not a laughing matter.

PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a major depressive disorder gaining more attention since its official inclusion in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (it had previously been listed as a disorder needing further research).

PMDD is a mental illness that involves mood changes occurring exclusively during the two weeks prior to menses.

31 Comments to
PMDD is Not Just Normal Moodiness

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  1. I have those exact same symptoms two weeks before my period, but I am diagnosed with PTSD, Bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. My symptoms become a hundred times worse 2 weeks before my period and are exactly what you printed.

  2. I have recently started suffering from PMDD. I have had generalized anxiety disorder my entire life but that in comparison is a walk in the park. For two weeks out of every four, I am suicidal. I disagree with the statement made in this article regarding CBT being of benefit for this particular disorder. This is nothing like normal depression where you can talk yourself around from the thoughts you have. This disorder is proven to be caused by a major drop in serotonin combined with severe fluctuations of the sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone,testosterone) and occurs anywhere from 14 days before you get your period. Then , for me , the moment I start bleeding,I am back to my normal self and all of the panic, suicidal desire & distress is gone. Why I believe CBT wouldn’t work is that for me, the suicidal desire is not something I can control. I don’t have schizophrenia but I feel its in a way similar. Someone with schizophrenia has no control over their distorted perception of what is true and nor do I feel I. This is a truly horrific condition and extremely scary. I am currently trying to find medication to treat this but have hit brick wall after brick wall with my GP, Gynae & Psychiatrist. This is usually treated by taking YAZ or Yasmin as it is called here. And yes, the above medication does work. Except when your like me and Yasmin causes you to develop DVT thus excluding use of any OCP forever more. Secondly, anti-depressant SSRI medications are no use to me (I have been on these for years and years to treat the GAD). I could go on but I am already extremely anxious about not being found something to treat this and having to live two out of every four weeks in a Psych hospital as my Psychiatrist is currently suggesting. MORE research and treatment options need to be developed for this very underrated disorder. It is said 1 in 5 women with it will commit suicide. That is a huge statistic. Any researchers out there looking for a new project, please take this one on. This has to be the worst thing I have ever suffered from and I used to think my GAD was rotten.

    • i know how you feel, I can relate to this so well. i was diagnosed with depression when I was 10, ADHD when I was 17, and my panic disorder kicked in during my early 30’s. Was able to kick the panic/anxiety beast, but it seems shortly after it was replaced with the PMDD. it can be incredibly confusing/frustrating when all of this overlaps, am I depressed/PMDD/ADHD?!? I feel like a hopeless mess at times, very hopeless, those thoughts creep in . . . “what is the point of living if this is the way it goes”. And then I get my period, and its a wonderful, beautiful day! Except this cycle wears you down. i dont want to be a crazy person! and on top of it all, i’m “gifted”, I have a near genius IQ, but i feel like I can’t keep it together long enough to make that fact matter very much or put it to good use! I have thought so many times, it would be so much better to be “average” than to live with the brain i’m in.

    • I am a 15 year sufferer of this horrible disease. Your explanation hit it right on the nose exactly. I’m sorry for your suffering. I have yet to find relief. I am thankful it is recongnized now as a legitimate condition so maybe we can all get some help.

    • It definitely effects your mentality, mindset, emotions, mood, even your self-image. I’ve had PMDD for years, beginning in my early 30s. I’m experiencing it now actually. It does get better with time- or it has for me. Some months are worse than others. Exercise (It seems like a pat answer, but it’s not- and it’s not easy because it’s not what you feel like doing when you’re depressed, but you have to make yourself do it…I just went for a run- helped somewhat). Also- sam-e (in the am) and magnesium (small amount at night) helps if you want to go the natural route. Just knowing you will magically feel better when you begin to bleed also helps. You do have to keep constantly telling yourself that you are the same awesome person you were a week or two ago. It’s not easy- because you’re susceptible to loneliness and self-blame. You’re susceptible to lots of negative thinking, mostly feeling that you’re a total loser that no one wants or likes. and you’re not. You have plenty of friends and people who love you. They just might not be banging your door down trying to help you at the moment. You have to fight that stinking thinking. I wish there was a support group for this in my area.

  3. I recognise in myself all these symptoms. The worst one for me is out of control aggression and anger. I get completely overwhelmed by situations I’d usually be able to cope with and then BAM, I snap and go into rage mode and I can’t stop. I’ll behave more immature than a 6 year old, will throw what are basically adult tantrums, and take it out on myself and everyone around me. I’ll break stuff, scream, yell, hit myself in a rage. I’m utterly ashamed of myself behaving this way, and even in this day and age, menstruation is such an embarassing and somewhat taboo topic, we don’t just speak out about it, and people make fun of women for having these symptoms or tell them they are all in their head or that they’re being a crazy female, refusing to accept that sometimes we literally can’t help it. the doctor has been a dead end for me, telling me there’s nothing that can be done about it, bar putting me on antidepressants, which did nothing, I was on them for years and the symptoms were as bad as ever all the way through. People around me avoid me for about a week out of every month, to them it’s probably like walking on eggshells, and it always seems they deliberately try to provoke me and be as annoying as possible, when in reality its’ that my tolerance for every little thing is way down. sometimes I will be so irritable I can’t stand it, feels like being about to blow a fuse and do or say something I really regret.

    • I am right there with you. I have ruined relationships, both personal & business with my ridiculous tantrums. i had to walk away from my 18 yr career 5 years back, this in part being one of the major reasons. I have been rebuilding, feeling better, continuously trying to get right.

  4. I am trying to desperately get this info out there! I was too a 10 year suffer of this crippling illness. I spent the last 5 years researching this illness. I have tried everything known to man kind to alleviate symptoms. I have COMPLETE relief from this disorder today. I had a radical hysterectomy 2 years ago and from that day until today, I have my life BACK. I am happy to speak with anyone that needs info..

    • CHRISTY! i have asked my dr. about a hysterectomy, but she pushed it aside? I am 40 yrs old, single mom, with a 18 yr old daughter, i’m not going to have anymore kids! How did you get your dr to agree, how did you arrive at the decision, who suggested it? I have been talking meds for years, but currently seem to be doing ok on cymbalata and lo-dose hormone treatment. I really dont like the idea of having to take drugs to be normal. while the surgery, any surgery is risky, living my life with pmdd has been very debilitating. falling apart 50% of the time is tiresome, especially when you spend the next 2 weeks picking up the pieces, telling yourself you’re “ok”, rebuilding your confidence to go out into the world, only to have it come back and smack you in the face for another 2 weeks. I would love to hear all about your experience! thank you!!!

    • I am so thankful I have found this site and to know I am not alone! I never know if it’s my panic disorder, my ADHD, or the PMDD that makes me the complete and utter chaotic mess! One hr I am a mean spiteful bitch, the next a baby crying in my closet. Then I feel horrible guilt for my family, then the anger starts again and I flip out. What the hell is one to do?

    • I am a 15 year sufferer of PMDD. I am now considering a hysterectomy. I worry about getting my hormones balanced afterward. Have you had success with this area?

  5. I am not sure how I managed to go to college, law school, get married and have two kids with PMDD on my back.

    PMDD leads to an incredible distortion of reality.

    What has worked for me to alleviate 40% of symptoms is outrageous doses of Agnus Castus all month long. But after two children, the PMDD seems to have become worse, though it does not emerge in interaction with children, only with adults.

    Hence, I am now looking for real medication.

    • distortion of reality – that’s a great way to put things, so true. I started taking hormones (birth control)in addition to my cymbalta about a year ago, and it really has helped a great deal. my psych kept suggesting I try. (i was very hesitant to take them, as in the past, on their own they’ve made me crazy, but i’m on a low dose, which has not, I take Generess-FE). After consulting with my obgyn, i went for it, and I really wish i would have done it sooner. Might be worth looking into?

  6. I have not been diagnosed, have a dr. Apt. Tomorrow. I have been having episodes, When they happen there is no warning. Something just clicks and I go into a blind rage, I accuse my husband of horrible things, call him every name u can think of. Tell him he is crap and doesnt love me, then go into depression a couple days and then extreme happiness like nothing happened then depressed again and crave chocolate. I get so bloated I look pregnant, my body aches and I cant sleep. It wasn’t till 3 episodes ago I really started thinking about wat was wrong with me, im angry and putting my husband through hell n my kids are witnessing this. 2 episodes ago, I went into a rage, I can barely remember wat exactly happened but afterwards I felt depressed and thought my children were better off without me n sat crying in the bathroom floor, tore open my razor to expose the blades n started cutting. My children cried asking me to come out, why did I lock the door….. then I thoughtwat the hell is wrong with me, they cant find me like this, its traumatizing. ?.. I sat and cried and told them to watch cartoons, they went and told their dad..Mommys crying in the bathroom and wont come out, she is setting on the floor, daddy help….. he busted the door down and grabbed me, in the scuffle I cut him and my self, and have a scar on my wrist now from my stupid moods. It was then after my week of emotional roller coaster I decided to take notes on a calander and check for consistency. This last outrage happened same time, wek b4 starting my monthly, july 4th, it was a good day then all of a sudden I start on my husband, here we go again, cant remember much about the rage of anger but I was very hateful and put him down sooo bad, posted it to facebook, embarrassed him and all in front of my children again. I again felt worthless and didnt want to be around anymore, depressed, unloved, scared and hopeless. He left me, didnt come home till next afternoon, I appologized and cried, I told him I dont understand wat is goin on, I love him with all my heart andnwe have an incredible relationship, something is wrong with me n I dont know wat. Help me…. he refused to talk to me, I stayed depressed again for 2 days then extremely happy like nothing happened. 2 days b4 my period I feel normal again and think logically. I almost shaved my head bc of the way I felt this time…. I feel like im crazy… I called the doctor during my 2 days of depression, cried to her, wats wrong with me, she said she is putting my on the pill to help regulate my hormones. Still it is hard to believe PMS turns into this so I started searching today about my symptoms and found this site. Everything I have seen others post is how I feel. I really hope the pill works bc I dont think my husband can take another episode. And I dont blame him,

    • Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry. I can totally relate to you. I realize this may not be an option for some, but try Chinese Medicine.(herbal, not accupuncture). I am doing it now and it is helping, although I just started. The last cycle I literally thought people were going to come into my house and kill me, the one before that I found myself between the couch and the wall trying to get some comfort because I felt more alone that way and no one could get me, although it still didn’t help. Both times it stopped when I got my period, although it took a while to rebuild like another poster said. Last time the second I started bleeding I cried, because although I didn’t feel better yet, I knew it would be over soon, and I called my boyfriend crying saying, “Maybe it can be over now?” and I just sobbed on the phone like a kidnap victim who has finally been rescued, while he just listened- so unlike me. This time I am no longer paranoid just really depressed, like I feel like if I die no one will find me for a few days but dying will be fine with me. I almost slipped in the bathroom and I realized if I hit my head I would be ok with that. We seriously need and deserve help. The chinese medicine got me from crazy paranoid shaking in the corner to “just” extremely depressed. I’m hoping it will go down from here. I’ll know next month I guess. I hope you try it and see some relief because what do we have to lose at this point?
      Hang in there.

      • Hi Everyone, I’ve been suffering for the last six months with PMDD, it completely took me aback with the most horrid feelings ever. I hated being on anti-depressants and that I didn’t want to be on this planet any more. The symptoms went away on day three of my period and then crept back up on me like a freight train. I don’t usually post on websites, but thought this info may be useful for somebody. I read on another site about taking calcium & magnesium and thought why not? I’m pleased to say that this month, after taking the supplements for only two weeks, I feel soooo much better. It may not work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a go! got mine from Holland & Barrett. Good luck to anyone who tries it.

  7. This article needs to be updated. PMS and PMDD is NOT a mental disorder! Do NOT MAKE women feel they are suffering from a mental illness. This is purely physical. Hormones. Doctors make women feel worse mis-diagnosing women dealing with PMS/PMDD with a mental illness. It is not a mental disorder!

  8. btw, personally I would not go the hysterectomy route. It may work for some people, but I couldn’t the instant menopause-the sudden loss of hormones, estrogen, etc, make things so much worse?! Also there are bio identical hormone creams you can get OTC – find one with 80/20 mix of estrogens -now that you can use to balance your hormones.

  9. realized iv had pmdd since i was diagnosed at the age of 16. i am now 18. just got out of the psychiatric hospital. i take prozac intuniv serquil and a birth control to try and take care of this horrible illness. yet i still am struggling…

  10. After suffering with PMDD for so long, I finally snapped after a stressful event. It felt like I wasn’t even in my own body anymore. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my life. I immediately went to a psychologist. After she evaluated me, I went to my OBGYN. Now I take fluoxetine only during my luteal phase. It carries me through the PMDD part of the month so I can sort of function. It doesn’t fix everything, but it has improved my life. I still plan my life around PMDD. Everything from job decisions, to family vacations, have to be timed so that important things don’t overlap with the PMDD. During the PMDD part of the month I go easy on myself. Housework? It can wait. Stack of paperwork? It can wait. It’s tough because I have 2 active little kids and things really pile up during my luteal phase, but when my period comes it’s like a damn miracle. I feel a million times better and I can catch up on everything. I also pack on approximately 5lbs of water weight, so I need different clothes for half the month. Sometimes I look like I’m pregnant! I wish beyond anything someone could come up with a way to measure and treat the hormone problems that are probably causing this in me, in all of us. It’s ridiculous to spend half of your adult life not in control of your own body and mind.

  11. Ladies, I’m so sorry to hear how many of you are suffering with this. I was diagnosed about 10 years ago when my husband recognized the problem I had been living with all of my life. Since then I have been taking 10mg of Prozac, every day. It’s truly helped me over the years and I’m certain my life would be a mess today had I not gotten on medication. Best wishes to all 9f you.

  12. Ladies, I’m so sorry to hear how many of you are suffering with this. I was diagnosed about 10 years ago when my husband recognized the problem I had been living with all of my life. Since then I have been taking 10mg of Prozac, every day. It’s truly helped me over the years and I’m certain my life would be a mess today had I not gotten on medication. Best wishes to all of you.

  13. Hi there. I recently turned 32 & have had 9 day periods heavy since I was 11!! I have had many traumas mentally n physically over the last two decades which leae me to believe i had severe on/off depression. However in the last 3 cyvles, i started noticing a pattern, which looking back have changed throughout the years. The flu like symptoms and aches, always prominent, however two years ago I developed severe migraines. In the past few months they still exist but have lessend slighyly. Now i see the pattern flu syms 10ish dzys before. Depression like state of mind and anxiety/ panic attacks 2-4 days before and affects my memory. I sleep alot. By day 2/3 of my period they subside!! My GP put me on serlotine or something like that and I did say i felt they werent doing anuthing and sure 2 days i have the same sumptoms. This is debilitating and added stress of work and what will happen if I continue hving to take time off. Studies are needed!!! Soo many of us are losing relationships / work because of this horrendous condition. Goodluck all

  14. So many times I feel alone in this as if I am the only women that suffers from this gruel disease. I live in fear of my next period coming and it seems as if 1.5 weeks of the month I am normal. I am ashamed to discuss this with anyone other then my husband, he is very understanding Thank God. I am seriously looking for answers I can not live my life this way it effects everything in my life, my family, me running my business properly, I have every symptom in the book physical and mentally 2 weeks before my period the worst symptom is anger. I am not for taking medication I want a natural cure and I am on a mission to find it will not give up until I do

  15. Ladies, thank you for posting your stories it gives me hope knowing i’m not alone in this. I am 44 and about 8 years ago i stated noticing all the symptoms mentioned, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and my 2 teenage sons were going through serious issues and i thought i was going crazy.I was always yelling at my kids, angry and full of rage. The littlest things got on my nerves i was always feeling like a horrible mom and wife.It was always around the time for me to start. It was so bad i was driving home and starting praying that God would show me what was wrong with me i even told him if i was crazy i needed to know. For years i had been saying my horomones were out of wack, they were. I went to a horomone specialist and she did the tests and diagnosed me with PMDD and also PSOS. She put me on horomone cream and zoloft. I know many of you don’t want to be on medicine but it has helped me manage this. I still have the symptoms but not as bad.

  16. Im 39 years old, and this illness isnt a joke!! people seriously NEED TO UNDERSTAND and TRY to deal with what some of us are going through each month. My thoughts are if the people that are around, dont accept or have any compassion of the absolute Pain & Chaos I go through, and make it harder on me. Then they can just keep there uncaring, selfish a$$es as faaar away as possible. Thats NOT Love or Unity to me :(

  17. I’m 47 years old. Been on antidepressants since 1991. Hindsight says likely not but hey, that was the catch all diagnosis of those days… and then you are stuck. I do agree I’ve always suffered from mood issues that support 25+ years of having my head in the toilet more than my ass, self medicating with alcohol later in life and collectively moving through life feeling as a fraud (big secrets!) – somehow I managed the outward illusion which actually propelled me to the top of my profession. 6 years ago I finally broke free of the bulimia which opened the flood gates of emotions. I took this challenge head-on… allowed myself to feel no matter how uncomfortable and was amazed by the results. BUT then was diagnosed by my psychiatrist of over 10 years with PMDD 3 years ago. This is the most terrible, debilitating, scary thing I have ever experienced. Everything is affected. What I see when looking in the mirror, my professional confidence, my reliability/accountability on all fronts and gets worse with each passing month. I’ve tried natural HRT cream and although initially felt some relief for a few days (almost euphoric) the physical effects (bloating etc) began triggering the old body hate and with a bulimia relapse. I am a diligent tracker and experience PMDD 2 times per month with the worst 5 days following ovulation (suicide, isolation, wailing, hiding in dark spaces, drugged feeling, intense self hate, food/weight obsession, eating 3,500-5,000 calories p/day) then a few up/down days in between the second bout 4 days prior to period starting (exhaustion like I’m drugged, anger flare ups) The day following my cycle starting, the lift slowly begins with day 10 being the most glorious ever (hm… only 12 awesome days a year – very sad) I used to relish these fleeting days of clarity and norm. So much that simply knowing they were on the horizon, I had incentive to push through; however no more. These days are now filled with loosing weight gained, marathon sessions of work to cover for unproductive time lost, anxiety of the upcoming challenge and fear that perhaps this time will be the one I won’t make it through. If you’ve been there, you fully understand. Those who have not will be unable to grasp the magnitude of the situation. Thanks for providing a place to share – albeit briefly – my personal experiences. With love and prayers for strength and perseverance to all of you xo

  18. I do not understand the sentence “it is not classified as PMDD when in conjunction with another mental disorder.” Why? I am diagnosed with another illness and one- two weeks before my period it is heightened a million times more, besides the physical symptoms that are debilitating. Yes it is PMDD even if I have another illness. Also, why would anyone take offense that this is a mental illness? I see it as mental and physical. There is a drop in serotonin which is in the brain – just like depression which is a mental illness and this causes all the mood and physical disturbances. I don’t care what it’s classified as, as long as someone finds a cure for it.

  19. PMDD may or may not be a mental illness – as that seems to be a controversy among doctors – but mine didn’t start manifesting until I turned 40, at which time something changed biologically and I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, anxiety disorder, and then when my hormonal cycles happen, I *really* have issues. For me, Lexipro really does help fix it. I take an extra dose on the days it manifests – well, on the days I recognise that my symptoms are pmdd, not my normal depression. The extra dose *for me* makes a difference within 45 minutes to an hour.

    Now that I reflect on this, my depression symptoms are massively worse the two weeks before my hormonal cycle, although I have a different symptom as well on the first day of what would be the first day of my period, which is not mentioned anywhere in any of the documentation on pmdd that I can find. But the extra anti-depressant still fixes it, so I can only assume it is related to my brain being extra sensitive to my hormone changes. I believe my psychiatrist in this.

    I had a hysterectomy about four months after the PMDD manifested, and it didn’t make a difference for me. (the hysterectomy was NOT related to the pmdd, it was for other health concerns.) It was a uterus only procedure; they didn’t take the ovaries. I don’t know if that would have made a difference, but I didn’t want immediate onset of menopause in addition to everything else.

    I came to this blog wondering if there was something to do about the resulting headaches after taking the medication to fix the symptoms, but no one has mentioned that. Maybe I am a strange case…

  20. I too have PMDD and endometriosis and my life for 2 weeks before my period is hell mentally and then when my period comes my mood lifts but i have extreme pain and bleeding for 7-10 days :( basically 1 week a month i feel “normal”. Both of these diseases have taken its toll on my family, my husband and children know exactly when im due for my period. Nothing is worse than hearing your 9 yr old daughter say that sometimes mommy is mean and other times shes nice :,( i am currently taking prozac for my pmdd, had to just recently up my dise as i felt like i was spiralling back to that black hole again. I am also taking lupron for my endometriosis which causes mood swings! Because i need that! Lol!! Im thinking of stopping the lupron, i would rather deal with the physical pain for now than the mental pain. Sometimes i feel so alone :(

  21. My daughter is 40 and it hit her in Nov. for the first time. She wanted to drive her car into a tree and have it over with. She is a teacher who is bright and creative and to see her like this is heartbreaking. Her 5th episode was last week. She was on so many medications it sent her over the top and she thought maybe it would be nice to just leave this world. She changed her mind and I took her to the hospital to have her stomach washed. Well they kept her overnight, and because she had been suicidal she was committed to a facility. In a paddy wagon and handcuffed because she didn’t agree with the commitment. Standard procedure I’m told. Now after one short visit with a psychiatrist at this hospital, she is told she does not have PMDD or ADHD. She has PTSD and is bi polar and they’ve put on her Dapakote. She is cooperating because she wants to come home. I strongly feel it is PMDD after reading all these letters. Also cruel to change things so quickly with not knowing the person. She will go to a doctor when she comes home and see if she can make some sense out of all of this. She has been told by her gyn that her periods can be made to stop for several months by taking birth control pills. We have also been told not to take them because my mother, her grandmother had breast cancer. But she cannot go on this way.



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