Most women have dealt with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) to some degree at some point in their lives. It may come in the form of irritability, mood swings, food cravings or a depressed mood, but a small percentage of women experience premenstrual symptoms that are much more severe than your typical bout with PMS. These women suffer from something called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe and sometimes debilitating extension of premenstrual symptoms that cause significant problems in the sufferer’s life.
Experts estimate that approximately 1-5% of women suffer from PMDD (Standen, 2013), compared to about 75% of menstruating women who suffer from PMS (Mayo Clinic, 2012). PMDD is not very common, but it’s a major issue for those women who have to deal with it each month. So much so that it has gotten the attention of the American Psychological Association (APA), who have recently moved it from being categorized under "depressive disorder not otherwise specified," to having its own separate disorder in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM V). There is a very specific criteria laid out by the APA in order for a person to be diagnosed with PMDD. The symptoms include things like: