Women suffering from severe premenstrual issues could have more access to effective treatment starting next year.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) will be an official disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), according to Dr. John Oldham, the immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association.
The new manual is expected to come out in the spring of 2013.
In the fourth edition of the DSM (DSM-IV-TR), premenstrual dysphoric disorder is placed in Appendix B, which is used for disorders that require more research.
The basic definition in DSM-IV-TR is: “The essential features are symptoms such as markedly depressed mood, marked anxiety, marked affective lability, and decreased interest in activities.
These symptoms have regularly occurred during the last week of the luteal phase in most menstrual cycles during the past year.
The symptoms begin to remit within a few days of the onset of menses (the follicular phase) and are always absent in the week following menses.”
Marked affective lability refers to “feeling suddenly sad or tearful or increased sensitivity to rejection,” according to the DSM. Other symptoms of PMDD include sleep issues, fatigue, concentration issues, increased irritability and anger, and feeling overwhelmed.
Rachel Thomasian, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, said in an email that she helps many women who are suffering from PMDD.
She described PMDD as a severe form of PMS, adding that symptoms can vary for each individual. She believes there is plenty of evidence to support a diagnosis of PMDD.
Women can tell there is a difference between common PMS symptoms and PMDD, because PMDD is a “much more severe experience of shifts in mood,” Thomasian said.
For women suffering from PMDD, there is a feeling of loss of control. Other signs that PMS symptoms could actually be PMDD is that women are having difficult relationships with others during the menstrual time.