What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) as a "depressive disorder not otherwise specified." A severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMDD symptoms are quite similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and include:
• Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
• Decreased interest in usual activities.
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all activities.
• Lack of energy.
Jean Endicott, PhD, director of the premenstrual evaluation unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, believes that "It's a real biological condition for which women seek treatment and for which effective treatment is available." (Jennifer Daw, October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9 Print version: page 58). Somewhere around about 3 to 9 percent of women’s daily lives and routines are affected due to this affliction. There are those such as Psychologist Paula Caplan, who believe that PMDD is made up as a psychiatric disorder and that it stigmatizes women as being mentally ill and is truly covering up the real reasons of women's anguish. "It's a label that can be used by a sexist society that wants to believe that many women go crazy once a month," Caplan explains. (Jennifer Daw, October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9 Print version: page 58).
The exact cause of PMDD is not known. However, some researchers believe PMDD is brought about by the hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle. Low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals also shows a connection to PMDD. There are certain brain cells that utilize serotonin as a messenger and are involved in controlling mood, attention, sleep, and pain. It is believed that chronic changes in serotonin levels can lead to PMDD symptoms. There are others who believe it is caused... [continues]
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