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

While anxiety can be a disorder in itself, it is also known to be a symptom of a number of physical disorders and illnesses. Before beginning...

People who spend much of their days in meetings have something to worry besides boredom, according to a study released by the Human Neuroimaging...

This article was written exclusively for LivingWithAnxiety.com by Camille Rynd. She explains why she resorted to self-medicating and how much...

According to a study by Sonya Deschênes of Concordia University and colleagues at Ryerson University in Toronto, and published in Cognitive...

If you're contemplating starting medication for an anxiety disorder, you no doubt have discovered that there are literally dozens of prescription...

More Articles

While anxiety can be a disorder in itself, it is also known to be a symptom of a number of physical disorders and illnesses. Before beginning...

Much of our anxiety rests on assumptions that we have made. We assume the worst possible scenario will come true. We assume we know what others...

A new series of studies and experiments by the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, illustrate the stress- and fear-...

If it seems nearly impossible to get something off your mind, your anxiety might be out of control. Getting a handle on your anxiety will allow...

Meditation has a reputation among some in the west as being akin to religious practice and for that reason, something mystical or reserved for...

Everyone is so busy these days with the demands of work, parenting, and life's everyday tasks. But you can get through the day with less stress,...

Sinequan, an antidepressant marketed by Pfizer and known generically as doxepin, is most often used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and...

As adults, we are well aware that our work environment has an effect on our mental health. When we're trying to do our jobs without the resources...

Everyone has concerns in life. Sometimes these concerns become overwhelming and we can become riddled with anxiety. Some people, when overwhelmed...

A study from Deakin University that looked at 3,000 Australian adolescents has revealed that mental health in adolescents over time could be...

Why is this medication prescribed?

Prozac or Fluoxetine is an antidepressant (mood elevator) and is used to treat depression, obsessive-...

An article from Prevention provides a list of 6 strange physical symptoms of stress that you may not even associate with too much stress in your...

Ludiomil is the brand name of a tetracyclic antidepressant medication sometimes prescribed as a treatment for anxiety. Tetracyclic antidepressants...

Nortriptyline, marketed in the United States under the trade names Pamelor and Aventyl, is a tricyclic antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat...

Mental health disorders, particularly anxiety disorders, are very common and often quite treatable. However, many of them remain poorly or...