Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Symptoms | Causes | Diagnostic Criteria | Treatments

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a much more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The essential features of this mental illness are the expression of mood lability, irritability, dysphoria, and anxiety symptoms that occur repeatedly during the premenstrual phase of the cycle and remit around the onset of menses or shortly thereafter, according to the DSM-5.


Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Out of control feeling
  • Bloating or headaches
  • Lack of¬†interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Sadness or hopelessness, possibly thoughts of suicide
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Problems sleeping

Causes of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Temperamental, environmental, genetic & physiological factors are all likely to play key roles in the development of this mental illness. Individuals with a family history of this disorder may be at a higher risk for developing it themselves.

According to the DSM-5, environmental factors associated with the expression of premenstrual dysphoric disorder include stress, history of interpersonal trauma, seasonal changes, and sociocultural aspects of female sexual behavior in general, and female gender role in particular. Additionally, the onset of premenstrual dysphoric disorder can occur at any point after menarche.

Diagnostic Criteria

To get diagnosed with this mood disorder, one must undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. This will often entail asking the patient numerous questions to better understand their family history, current symptoms, as well as the severity of those symptoms.

According to the DSM-5, some of the specific diagnostic criteria are as follows:

  • Marked affective lability (e.g., mood swings; feeling suddenly sad or tearful, or increased sensitivity to rejection).
  • Marked irritability or anger or increased interpersonal conflicts.
  • A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control.

Treatments for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Making healthier lifestyle changes, such as improving one’s diet, exercising regularly, and improving sleep hygiene, may be able to help improve the symptoms of this mental illness, according to

Talk therapy and/or psychiatric medication may also be helpful to treat this condition. However, this is something you should first discuss with your doctor.

If you think you may be suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you may benefit from therapy. Feel free to reach out to your doctor or local mental health clinic to see what your available options are and to see if there is any sort of discount or promo code available to help you with the costs of treatment, as well as if your health insurance will cover treatment costs.


  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)

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