Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is treatable. Find out how PMDD impacts women through PMDD statistics.
For thousands of women each day, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is an ongoing challenge that has negative outcomes on life. PMDD is a disorder in which a woman’s menstrual cycle influences her mental health significantly and during a narrow time frame before her period begins.
Criteria for PMDD diagnosis is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Mood swings, sudden sadness or sensitivity to rejection
- Irritability or anger
- Feelings of depression, hopelessness or low self-worth
- Increased anxiety, tension or feeling on-edge
PMDD statistics indicate that 6 million, or 1 in 20 women worldwide, struggle with this condition. The actual prevalence is estimated to be even higher, but many women may not come forward regarding their concerns because of fear of stigmatization. The average age of onset for PMDD is 26, but the condition can emerge at any time during a woman’s reproductive years.
Causes of PMDD
The exact cause of PMDD is unknown. Multiple studies have found a correlation between trauma history and PMDD. One study showed that childhood trauma and PMDD were particularly closely related, with early childhood sexual abuse making someone 6.7 times more likely to develop PMDD. As in so many other conditions, scientists have also examined the correlation between PMDD and genetics. Research has shown that certain genetic variations predispose some women to PMDD.
Rates of PMDD and Co-Occurring Disorders
Given the severity of physical and emotional symptoms, it is not surprising that PMDD often co-occurs with other conditions. PMDD and depression are closely correlated. In fact, depressive symptoms and anxiety are part of the diagnostic criteria for PMDD. PMDD and alcohol abuse is an unfortunately common combination, as alcohol is a depressant and worsens the negative symptoms of the disorder. The use of substances to self-medicate for an emotional health condition such as PMDD is not uncommon. As women learn more about the condition, PMDD can be treated with greater effectiveness and minimal side effects.
PMDD and Suicide
Tragically, a staggering 30% of women with PMDD attempt suicide. That number consists of women who have made attempts on their life and does not include the number of women who struggle with suicidal ideation with PMDD. One study showed that women with PMDD are 70% more likely to experience suicidal ideation than women without a premenstrual condition. It is crucial for women struggling with this condition to reach out for support if they experience suicidal impulses.
PMDD Treatment & Recovery
Effective PMDD treatment consists of antidepressant medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Additional strategies for managing PMDD symptoms include using oral contraceptives, making dietary adjustments (including a calcium supplement and smaller, more frequent meals) and partaking in aerobic exercise. While there is no PMDD cure, symptoms can be effectively managed to reduce their impact on daily life.
Ongoing Studies and Research
More PMDD research studies are being completed to learn about the genetic components of the condition and the link to trauma history. These research studies are crucial for the understanding of the disorder so that early intervention and effective treatments can save lives.
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