Though PMS and PMDD exhibit similar set of symptoms, the severity of the symptoms for PMDD may be quite debilitating, often having a very serious impact on a woman’s personal and professional life.
The condition affects around 3-8% of women, leading to severe emotional and cognitive symptoms. It may even aggravate the symptoms of stress, anxiety disorders, unipolar depression and other Axis I disorders and has a marked impact on a woman’s mental health.
Though PMDD differs from major depressive disorder, it is usually classified as an affective disorder requiring psychiatric diagnosis. The exact cause of the condition remains unknown however, most of the cases are believed to be a result of the interaction of the fluctuating hormones with the neurotransmitters.
Women with PMDD usually exhibit abnormal responses of the brain to normal levels of ovarian hormones. Irritability, anxiety and depression
Sudden and prolonged Irritability is one of the most common symptoms of PMDD. The condition may also result in episodes of anxiety and even severe cases of depression.
Symptoms Of PMDD
Severe Mood Swings
This is perhaps one of the most common and most noticeable symptoms of PMDD. The patient experiences sudden and rapid mood swings which may result in extreme anger or an intense feeling of sadness or despair.
The patient may also have extreme reactions to relatively trivial issues and usually experiences deep feelings of melancholia that result in sudden bouts of uncontrolled crying.
A woman with PMDD is usually more sensitive to criticisms and rejections and experiences overwhelming feelings of being out of control, with some extreme and rare cases also resulting in suicide ideation.
Chronic Fatigue And Change In Sleeping Habits
The disorder may result in lethargy and chronic fatigue that occurs without any known cause and may also disturb a woman’s sleeping patterns. It results in a change in the sleeping habits, with the affected person experiencing either insomnia or hypersomnia.
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Panic Attacks And Emotional Dependence
A woman with PMDD suffers more panic attacks than normal and craves emotional closeness to the extent of being emotionally dependant. These panic attacks are characterized by the presence of symptoms such as hot flashes, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath and sudden bouts of terror. Panic attacks are usually a result of extreme anxiety and generally get better with hormone treatment.
Apathy And Lack Of Concentration
A woman with PMDD may lack interest in her surroundings, relationships and even her daily activities. The intense feelings of tension and anxiety also result in a lack of concentration, which may have a serious impact on her day-to-day activities. Some women even resort to binge eating by giving into food cravings as a means of comfort.
The disorder can result in physical symptoms such as headaches, swelling of the face and nose, pain in the muscles and joints, pain and tenderness in the breasts and heart palpitations.
The patient may experience a constant bloated feeling and loss of appetite. She may even have an altered view of her own body, experiencing sudden bouts of guilt and projected or actual weight gain.
PMDD can have a major impact on the physical and mental health of a woman, severely affecting her relationships and general attitude towards life. However, with an early identification and treatment through medication, food and lifestyle changes and supportive psychotherapy, you can easily manage the symptoms of the disorder and improve your quality of life.
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