PMDD - Not Your Average Monthly Symptoms - aifc
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a hormonal mood disorder characterised by severe unpleasant psychological and physical symptoms occurring during the luteal phase of menses, affecting women in their childbearing years. Symptoms also take on a physical nature significantly impacting the quality of life of many women and the lives of those they live with.

Occupational and social functioning is also affected to the extent where some women withdraw from these activities isolating themselves during bouts of PMDD.

PMDD is a recent addition to the DSM-5 that has long been a controversial topic with some critics holding to the idea that PMDD is nothing more than an extreme form of PMS. Women who have the condition have described PMDD as, “PMS on steroids“ due to the incredibly heightened symptoms. However, there are symptoms that occur in PMDD that aren’t present in PMS and so severe they are debilitating. There is currently no known cure.

Study Finds a Hereditary Link to Premenstrual Depression

In 2007 a genetic connection was made; women who have PMDD were found to have variants in the oestrogen receptor alpha gene catechol-O-methyl transferase) which is responsible for regulating the proper function of the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that controls moods. PMDD has been found to predominately lower a woman’s serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter connected with learning, sleep and mood. The tests proved that PMDD is an endocrine mood-related disorder causing severe symptoms surpassing the harshest psychosomatic symptoms of PMS.

PMDD Symptoms

The severity of symptoms has been found to interfere with work, school, activities and relationships. Not every symptom is present at once during each month and usually disappears after the first few days of the onset of menses without reoccurrence until at least day 13, marking the start of ovulation.

Women with PMDD experience a variation of the following symptoms

• Depression with feelings of hopelessness and despair
• Suicidal thoughts
• Difficulty concentrating – confusion – brain fog
• Longer periods of sleep due to heavy fatigue
• Insomnia – the inability to sleep or to stay asleep
• Abdominal Bloating
• Loss of interest in usual activities
• Loss of energy
• Marked Appetite changes – overeating, food cravings, weight gain
• Uncontrollable Crying fits
• Social Withdrawal
• Headaches & Migraines that can last for days
• Extreme Irritability with bouts of uncontrollable anger or rage
• Physical symptoms, swelling, breast tenderness, Soreness of joints

Apart from symptoms in the DSM-5 women have reported symptoms added to the list below.

family of 3

• Increased interpersonal conflicts and paranoia
• Feelings of being overwhelmed – Everything becomes too difficult on a physical and in an emotional level
• They carry shame and guilt for having affected their children and partners/ spouses during bouts of PMDD.
• Losing jobs and job opportunities – Inability to work due to poor health not being about to focus due to lack of concentration or energy.
• Absolute loss of control

Who is at risk of Developing PMDD?

Women with a history of depression or postpartum depression or a family history of depression run a higher risk for developing PMDD.

What to do if you suspect PMDD?

Downloading and using a Symptom Tracker like ‘Me Vs PMDD‘ as a menstrual mood calendar, helps to uncover patterns over a period of 3-4 months. There are many other mood trackers available. Find one that best fits your needs. Based on the evidence gathered, your doctor or gynecologist can diagnose if you have PMDD or not.

Recommended reading
15 New Disorders in The DSM-5
Depression In Leadership Is Not Uncommon

Sources

Living in Darkness with PMDD – http://1dad1kid.com/living-in-darkness-with-pmdd/
PMDD – Not just normal Moodiness – http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/11/23/pmdd-is-not-just-normal-moodiness/ UN Health Care – http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2007/Jul/pmdd/
Harvard Health Publications – http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/treating-premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder
Genetic component found – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762203/

Survey conducted on a ‘closed’ Facebook Group of Women with PMDD.

Studying at aifc
Study the CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling at aifc. Our courses are contextualised and don’t contradict the bible.

 

Studying at aifc

Have you thought about becoming a qualified counsellor? It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can extend God's love and grace to the hurting out in the community.

For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months:

  • The beginning of each year in February
  • Mid-Year courses commence in July

Enrolment Season - opens approximately 2 months prior to our courses commencing. Enrol online here during our enrolment season.

We also offer two modes of study:

  1. Seminar Blended Mode - only 13 face-to-face days per year
  2. Online Supported Mode - study online only from anywhere

A Master of Counselling course was introduced in 2018.

Contact aifc

Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm

At aifc, our sole focus is to train and equip Christian Counsellors. More than just a counsellor, a Christian counsellor trusts in God and listens to His still small voice above all else.

It’s a big difference.

Nicholas Marks, CEO aifc

Download the Course Guide

We've put together a comprehensive course guide with everything you need to know about studying with aifc.

Fill out the form below and we'll send it straight to your inbox.