Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

The period struggle is real.

While most people experience the typical PMS symptoms, like bloating, cramps—and maybe even some chocolate cravings—there are some people that experience these things times a thousand.

If that’s the case, you could be suffering from PMDD.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, also abbreviated as PMDD, is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome, and is defined as an endocrine disorder which implies that it’s related to hormones.

It is usually accompanied by depression, anxiety, and relational problems as well as extreme and rapid shifts in mood known as “emotional dysregulation.” 

About 20-40% of women will experience moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms, and between 3-8% of those women will experience PMDD.

PMDD can be so severe that it can affect your relationships with friends and family, daily life activities, and performance at work. 

At its worst, PMDD can even cause suicidal feelings, which are important to address immediately with the help of a skilled professional therapist.

PMDD symptoms typically start one to two weeks before your period begins, and can last until the second or third day of your cycle. 

PMDD’s cause is undetermined, but there are several possible explanations as to why it happens.

One possibility is that PMDD results from a deficiency in serotonin, which in turn affects your mood and can cause other symptoms. 

Other people hypothesize that PMDD is associated with increased sensitivity to hormone changes during your monthly menstrual cycle, and to which genetic variations may also contribute. 

And some people speculate that the mood changes associated with PMDD may cause stressful and traumatic events, such as emotional or physical abuse, to surface and become exacerbated.

Regardless of the cause, these abrupt and painful changes in mood can cause severe emotional distress and can lead us to have distorted views of ourselves, our lives, and our relationships.  

Thankfully, there are some therapeutic methods that can help alleviate your symptoms.

Our trained therapists can help you implement changes in your diet and lifestyle, and work on techniques to manage your stress in order to relieve some symptoms of your PMDD. 

Nutrition Therapy might also be a good option for those suffering from PMDD as research is showing that various amino acids and supplements can help alleviate symptoms of PMDD.

PMDD is different from PMS in that its symptoms may be debilitating and involve both physical and psychological issues that affect your daily living and mental health.

We are here to help you develop a more empowered way of coping with your PMDD to help you restore a sense of vitality, peace, and stability.

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PMDD Symptoms

Many symptoms of PMDD are similar to symptoms of PMS, including:

  • Mood swing
  • Frequent crying
  • Cramps
  • Feeling bloated

However, there are other symptoms of PMDD that distinguish it from PMS, which include:

  • Severe feelings of depression
  • Heightened feelings of irritability
  • Severe feelings of anxiousness or nervousness
  • Feelings of tension
  • Loss of interest in relationships and daily activities
  • A hard time concentrating or thinking
  • Feelings of fatigue, or having a lack of energy
  • Feeling as if you’re not in control
  • Binge eating or changes in appetite
  • Extremely painful menstruation cycles
  • Relational disturbances

Please keep in mind that a trained professional is qualified to diagnose this disorder. 

If you are having symptoms, you should contact a therapist as soon as possible.

**Please call 911 immediately if you are having thoughts of harming yourself in any way.**

Research-based, personalized therapy.

At My LA Therapy, our warm and experienced therapists specialize in anxiety, depression, trauma, & relationships.

The DSM V describes diagnosis for PMDD as:

In the majority of menstrual cycles, at least 5 symptoms must be present in the final week before the onset of menses, start to improve within a few days after the onset of menses, and become minimal or absent in the week postmenses.

A) One or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Marked affective lability (e.g., mood swings, feeling suddenly sad or tearful, or increased sensitivity to rejection)
  • Marked irritability or anger or increased interpersonal conflicts
  • Markedly depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, or self-deprecating thoughts
  • Marked anxiety, tension, and/or feelings of being keyed up or on edge.

B) One (or more) of the following symptoms must additionally be present to reach a total of 5 symptoms when combined with symptoms from criterion A above:

  • Decreased interest in usual activities
  • Subjective difficulty in concentration
  • Lethargy, easy fatigability, or marked lack of energy
  • Marked change in appetite; overeating or specific food cravings
  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control
  • Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling; joint or muscle pain, a sensation of “bloating” or weight gain

C) The symptoms are associated with clinically significant distress or interference with work, school, usual social activities, or relationships with others.

While you may think that PMDD is a purely physical disorder, therapy may be able to alleviate some of its symptoms. 

We at My La Therapy are trained in the latest methods to help you develop a personalized approach to your disorder, in a space that is safe and free of judgement. 

Here are some Fast facts on PMDD by MedicalNewsToday:

  • The symptoms of PMDD disrupt normal daily functioning, and they require medical treatment.
  • PMDD is less common than PMS, and the symptoms are more severe.
  • Symptoms are most commonly experienced during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
  • The symptoms of PMDD can last until menopause.

Want to talk?

At My LA Therapy, our highly-vetted Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder experts are selected not only for their clinical acumen but for who they are.

Our Therapy Methods for PMDD

Therapy can improve your life by minimizing the anxiety in your life, identifying and changing underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and providing you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.

See the About Therapy page for a deeper look into this process. 

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing issues related to PMDD.

Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page. 

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