New In The Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

The revised psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-5, has an interesting addition: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

So ladies, if you go to your doctor and complain about certain types of distress occurring the week before your period begins, you might find yourself diagnosed with this mental disorder.

Some of us may welcome this diagnostic addition, while others will be appalled, though there is no doubt that many women experience difficult physical, emotional and mental changes prior to each menses. The question has been whether this should be considered a mental health disorder. Now, it officially is one.

The Diagnosis

You can be given the PMDD diagnosis if you experience at least five of the 11 listed criteria or symptoms. The symptoms must not be owed to any other mental illness, need to cause “significant stress” or distress for the individual, and be experienced several months over the course of a year.

PMDD Criteria

  • Mood swings, sudden sadness, increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Anger, irritability, increased interpersonal conflict
  • Problems concentrating
  • Having a depressed mood, negative/critical thoughts about the self or sense of hopelessness
  • Tension, anxiety, being “on edge”
  • Alteration in appetite, overeating, or specific food craving
  • Sleeping too much or not sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed or not in control
  • Tender breasts, pain, bloating, swelling, weight increase
  • Fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy
  • Reduced interest in usual activities such as school, work, friends or hobbies

Stated Benefits of Having the PMDD Diagnosis

Whether the PMDD diagnosis will benefit women or stigmatize them remains to be seen; maybe it will be a little of both.

Proponents of the diagnosis state that there are some benefits of having PMDD in the DSM-5:

  • It will stimulate research and data collection, leading to a better understanding of the disorder and more effective treatments, including medications.
  • The diagnosis will represent individuals who are not well-represented in other diagnostic categories.
  • Women with PMDD who experience functioning impairments in various areas show improvement when they are treated. Having clear diagnostic boundaries will prevent some women with treatable symptoms from being dismissed by healthcare providers.
  • Having clear PMDD diagnostic criteria means women with this disorder are less likely to be misdiagnosed with, for instance, depression.

Those who champion the inclusion of PMDD in the DSM-5 say that women who will fit the diagnosis are a small minority. Therefore, fears that women as a whole will be stigmatized by this diagnosis are unfounded.

The proponents may be right, but at least one woman, mental health counselor, and thoughtful human being find the stated benefits of this diagnosis have the flavor of rationalizations. What do you think?

Source: National Institutes of Health
Photo: Px Here

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

If you've been feeling ill, it would not be unreasonable to also be experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression. A number of past studies have...

It has already been shown many times that adults with mental illnesses often had poor cognitive skills in their youth. What hasn't been...

Social anxiety disorder, sometimes also called social phobia, is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in normal social...

Vivactil (generic protriptyline hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat depression in adults (age 18 and over)....

Dealing with the anxiety and depression of losing a loved one is difficult and can be hard to manage, but being able to move on from tragedy will...

More Articles

There are side effects to anxiety that we all experience, I call them the aftermath of a stressful and anxiety-ridden period. This aftermath...

Making choices can be anxiety provoking, especially if our ideas about the decision are riddled with judgments.

Getting rid of self-...

Is it true that you can ease anxiety by relaxing with a soothing cup of tea? In general, tea is known for it's calming benefits. Sitting down with...

Aromatherapy for anxiety may be a useful natural remedy in helping ease symptoms. Aroma means a pleasant or agreeable odor arising from plants,...

There is no one cause for anxiety but several factors that contribute to its development. Scientists have broken them down into three parts: brain...

There has been a reluctance to group video game addiction into the same category of other types of addiction, like drug or alcohol abuse, but the...

It's easy to feel like you're the only one feeling anxious in performance situations, whether it's giving a speech in front of a few people or...

Hoarding behavior is typically associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but there is some debate as to whether hoarding is a symptom...

Ativan (available generically as lorazepam) is a powerful anti-anxiety drug in the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It is a fast-...

Spending prolonged periods of time gazing at your reflection can cause serious psychological harm, even in those with no history of anxiety over...

Anxiety can be so overwhelming that it is easy to forget that there are things you can actively do to combat it. One simple technique that many...

The number one biggest fear of human beings is Glossophobia, also known as having a fear of public speaking. Some even fear public speaking more...

If you suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder, you probably feel fearful a lot of the time. Don’t let fear and anxiety rule your life!...

According to new research, T cells—best known for their role in fighting infections—may be one of the key players in elevated blood pressure...

According to an online poll conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, over half of women reported increased anxiety or depression...