A woman holding her stomach for cramps
How To Tell The Difference Between Regular PMS Or Something More Serious
Most people who menstruate experience relatively mild PMS, but it can be debilitating for others. This extreme form is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.
PMDD is marked by more severe mental and emotional symptoms around the time of one's cycle. Anxiety is a common system, and in extreme cases, some may have suicidal thoughts.
Symptoms of PMDD include difficulty concentrating, anger, irritability, fatigue, panic attacks, and anxiety. What makes it classified as PMDD is its timing relative to your cycle.
Some experts believe changes in progesterone and a potential drop in serotonin levels around ovulation can cause the symptoms. However, getting an official diagnosis can be hard.
The key difference with PMDD is that the symptoms are not only chronic but severe enough to impact daily life, and persist for several cycles, not just one or a few times.
Dr. Veerle Bergink, M.D., Ph.D., told Women.com it could be PMDD if, "it really interferes with your functioning, meaning [...] you cannot go outside [...] you're miserable."
If you have concerns about your moods around your cycle, talk to your doctor. Even if your symptoms don't result in a PMDD diagnosis, you can still receive treatment for them.