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When Your Monthly Period Is A Mental Health Crisis: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Women receive too many jokes, criticisms, and sarcastic comments about their period. The truth is, unless you are a woman who has had her period, experienced PMS even once, or know what a menstrual cramp really feels like- you simply cannot know what getting your period is like. Not to mention, you cannot know what it is like to have to experience every 28 days, which includes a potentially 3-10 day window of PMS, pre-menstrual syndrome. PMS can be full of mood swings, cravings, weight gain, depression, anxiety, anger, stress, and much more, only to be followed by 2-7 days of menstrual cramps, vaginal bleeding, more cravings, more mood swings, bloating, and stress. At this point, many men shudder and exclaim “Too much information!” A severe disregard and aversion to discussing the female experience of a menstruation cycle is damaging, and even life threatening. Though the minute menstruation begins, symptoms start to wear off. However, for up to two weeks of every four week cycle, billions of women around the world experience the same thing.

Some women experience their menstrual cycle like few others. Mental and physical symptoms are taken to the extreme, causing severe pain and life-threatening mental distress. PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, is an acute form of PMS that often leaves women in so much mental and physical pain, they become suicidal. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Panic attacks, depression, rage, violence, anxiety, anger, and suicidal ideations are common mental symptoms of PMDD. Physically, women experiencing PMDD get the “usual” symptoms of bloating and discomfort, but taken much more extreme, including discomfort in the joints, splintering migraines and exhausting fatigue. Many women turn to drugs and alcohol to ease their pain and relieve their pressing mental symptoms. Drugs and alcohol can make these already extreme symptoms worse, making the threat of violence toward the self or others greater.

Recent research has found that PMDD is genetic, which can lead to preventive tests and treatments. Elle UK reported that “The recent finding of a PMDD gene confirms the hypothesis that we have put forward for many years that PMS/PMDD occurs not because of hormonal abnormalities per se, but because some women suffer depression (and other symptoms) due to genetic vulnerability to the changes in hormone levels which occur in every woman.”

Living as a woman in recovery shouldn’t be difficult. Our program at Villa Tranquil, a unique transitional living program for women in early sobriety, helps women navigate the development of a new way of living. Independently owned and operated by clinicians, our program guides women after primary care. Call us today for information:  214-799-3080