Women with extreme PMS will now be deemed ‘mentally ill’ following controversial revision of health manual

By  Sadie Whitelocks

PUBLISHED: 16:45 EST, 21  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 17:04 EST, 21 October 2013

Women who suffer from consistently severe  mood swings during their menstrual periods are now being diagnosed with mental  illness.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD),  sometimes referred to as ‘PMS on steroids’, is formally recognized in the fifth  edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental  Disorders.

But the decision to categorize this condition  as full-fledged disorder has divided opinion, with critics stating that it only  contributes to stereotypes about women being emotionally unstable once a  month.

The right treatment? Women who suffer from consistently severe mood swings during their menstrual periods are now being diagnosed as mentally ill 

The right treatment? Women who suffer from consistently  severe mood swings during their menstrual periods are now being diagnosed as  mentally ill


Indeed, one commentator wrote on Jezebel.com:  ‘I actually have PMDD and take birth control to help it (which does work, btw  [sic]). Personally, I do find it insulting that PMDD is lumped into the category  of psychological disorders.

‘Although I do sometimes get intensely  depressed for a short amount of time before my period, I think the physical  symptoms that accompany the emotional stuff and the fact that it’s entirely  period related should qualify it as a body problem and not a mental  one.

‘Admitting you have PMDD definitely has some  social stigma also.’

The criteria for diagnosis include  ‘marked  irritability’, ‘anger’, ‘increased interpersonal conflicts’,  ‘feelings of  hopelessnes’, ‘lethargy’, ‘insomnia’ and a ‘marked change  in appetite’ during  ‘most’ menstrual cycles.

The symptoms have to correspond with the  menstrual cycle for a minimum of  two successive months and must be truly  disruptive to a woman’s ability  to carry out her normal activities. That’s  different than in  premenstrual syndrome (PMS), where most symptoms are  ‘mild’.

‘Every revision of  the DSM causes controversy; that’s what happens when experts argue in public  about the nature of human suffering

Finally, to be diagnosed with PMDD, patients  must report that they are not  depressed all the time, only in the days leading  up to their periods.

The condition is thought to affect three to  eight per cent of women.

Advocates say it will lead to more  accessible treatment and greater understanding of the condition, but  others  argue it will add to America’s growing prescription drug abuse  problem.

Gary Greenberg, author of The Book of Woe:  The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, wrote in The New  Yorker: ‘Every revision of the DSM causes controversy; that’s what happens when experts  argue in public about the nature of human suffering.

‘But never has the process provoked warfare  so brutal, with attacks coming  from within the profession as well from  psychiatry’s usual opponents.’

Some critics have suggested that the new  guidelines will make mental illness more common. For instance, according to the  DSM-5 those who eat to excess 12 times in  three months will be a candidate for binge  eating disorder.

Controversial: The 'bible of psychiatry' will be published on May 22  

Controversial: The latest edition of the ‘bible of  psychiatry’ came out in May

The Daily  Beast jokingly wrote: ‘[This] makes  us think twice about the last time we  devoured a pizza pie (last week) or ate  three doughnuts in one sitting  (this morning).’

And prominent names in the psychiatric  profession have highlighted the serious consequences of the revisions.

Duke University psychiatrist Allen J. Frances, who was tasked with putting together the fourth edition of the DSM  published in 1994, but did not work on the updated handbook released in May,  expressed concern over the changes.

‘A new diagnosis can be more dangerous than a  new drug,’ he told The Daily Beast.

And clinical social worker Joe Wegmann said it was based on ‘no credible  research’  and would trigger an ‘zealous binge’ of over-diagnosis.

A new section on areas that ‘need further  research’ has also been incorporated into the DSM-5.

This means that conditions including sex  addiction and internet overuse require  additional research before they can be incorporated into the official  diagnoses.

The DSM-5 was11 years in the making and was  written and published by the American  Psychiatric Association.

The first edition of the DSM – widely considered the ‘bible of  psychiatry’ – was published in 1952 and  today it influences practitioners around the world.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2470796/PMDD-Women-extreme-PMS-deemed-mentally-ill-DSM-5.html#ixzz2iQ1CXo9V Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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