Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a more severe form of PMS, affecting 5-10% of women in their reproductive years. In contrast to PMS, PMDD is characterized by more significant premenstrual mood disturbance that can seriously impact relationships and impair functioning. Many women with PMDD experience clinical levels of depression or anxiety during the week or two before each menstrual cycle.
Mood symptoms such as irritability, depressed mood or anxiety are present for only a specific period of time, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms emerge one to two weeks before menses and resolve completely with the onset of menses.
An estimated 40% of women who seek treatment for PMDD actually have a premenstrual exacerbation of an underlying mood disorder rather than PMDD. Therefore, it is important for patients to be carefully evaluated for the presence of an underlying mood disorder in order to develop the best treatment plan.