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Is extremely bad PMS normal?

How premenstrual dysphoric disorder is different from PMS and clinical depression


(Hannah Smothers/ Cosmopolitan) — The (incredibly sexist) joke about premenstrual syndrome (colloquially PMS) is that it drives people to do mean, crazy things. But if you’ve ever had PMS yourself, you understand. There are few things more disorienting than watching your body inflate every month with water retention, or having agonizing headaches for a week just because your period is coming. So yeah, maybe it makes you a little mean. But wouldn’t anyone who feels like shit half of every month be mean, too? (Yes.)

A small percentage of people who menstruate feel this even more, and have something called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is essentially an extreme version of PMS that comes with symptoms similar to clinical depression. Like PMS, PMDD is tied to the menstrual cycle. But unlike PMS, PMDD is severe enough that it has a negative effect on your school/work life, your personal life, and your general ability to function in the two weeks before your period starts.

Two specialists, Dr. Shari Lusskin, a clinical professor of psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, and Dr. Alexandra Sacks, a reproductive psychiatrist in New York City, explained what makes PMDD so bad, and what a doctor looks for when diagnosing it. (…)

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