- Women's Health
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Checklist PMDD Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Am I Crazy?
PMDD is a crippling disorder that happens once a month. Much like PMS, it is predictable. You know it’s coming. However, the severity of it is new each month. I suffer from PMDD.
A typical day of experiencing PMDD goes something like this:
“I called into work again. I cannot face anyone. I hate my job. I hate myself. Oh god, the kids will be home soon. I can’t deal with them. Darn it, why is this garbage full again!? Why the hell can’t they take it out? I do everything for these people and what do I get? Nothing! I should just leave them all- ALL OF THEM! Who gives a …! Well, ya know what? They can pick it up (as I throw garbage throughout my house), THEY CAN! Oh God, Why? Why do I have to be like this? (crying uncontrollably) Am I crazy? Oh God, please help me!”
I found myself on the floor in tears so many times convinced, I was going crazy.
I quit numerous jobs, just because I couldn’t “bring myself” to go. I was filled with anxiety.
I had mean, hateful arguments with my children who had no clue what they had done. And of course, they did nothing, I was on a rant, but the damage was done.
The thoughts of suicide were so great that I was scared.
What Is PMDD?
PMDD is short for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is present in approximately 5% of menstruating women. PMDD is a condition associated with SEVERE emotional and physical issues. It is linked to the menstrual cycle and symptoms occur regularly. Usually this happens prior to the beginning of your cycle and continues until shortly thereafter.
Both PMDD and PMS may involve bloating, fatigue, breast tenderness, sleep pattern and eating habits. But PMDD emotional and behavioral symptoms are much more prominent.
- Depressed and/or feeling hopeless
- Sudden mood shifts
- Persistent irritability and/or anger
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Difficulty concentrating and staying focused
- Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
Symptoms are severe enough to affect your activities of daily life. It can affect your job, your relationships and your overall quality of life.
Please answer this question
Do You Experience More Than PMS Symptoms?
I was sitting on the couch and saw a commercial for something, I think it was birth control or something. But it involved a lady who could not find her keys. She threw a “holy fit” over these keys! Yelling at her husband and kids, throwing things around.
I realized- This is me! I had never felt such happiness to find that my crazy behavior was right here on TV! I called my doctor and made an appointment for the next week.
During this appointment I was so scared they were going to take me away to the "loony bin." As I went on and on about my behavior, I kept waiting for it, but it never came. I spoke of the commercial I saw and that they said it was PMDD? (Hoping for a quick fix) However, my doctor gave me a checklist with symptoms and a rate scale between 1-5. 5 being most severe. I filled it out daily and gave it back to her at my follow-up appointment.
I was diagnosed as suffering from PMDD. Thank goodness, I thought, there is a name for my craziness. If it has a name, it has a treatment.
Treatment begins with admitting you have a problem. Please do not be embarrassed. Doctors are there to help you not judge you.
Medications- Antidepressants are usually prescribed to help with the depression, anger and sadness. Others are Anti-anxiety, Hormones, Oral Contraceptives and Analgesics.
Counseling and/or Therapy- although I personally did not find this to be beneficial, it is recommended along with the medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can teach relaxation techniques as well as coping strategies.
Lifestyle Changes- Including exercise as part of your daily regimen can help relieve symptoms.
Nutrition- simple diet modifications such as high carbohydrate meals and reducing salt, caffeine and alcohol can be beneficial. Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium have been found to be helpful as well.
As For Me?
As for me? I'm doing okay. I am on the antidepressant Lexapro. It really helps. I still have bad days, but they are nothing like they used to be. I can feel it coming on and know how to handle it. I can isolate myself or walk away before anything gets "out of control."
I would have never felt better if I didn't seek help. Don't think that the feelings and behavior you are experiencing are normal PMS.
Normal PMS should not make your life unbearable and you, well, feeling crazy...
Take care of yourself- You are worth it!