Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Facts to know

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is not the same as premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
  • Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder can disrupt daily functioning.
  • There are multiple treatment options for premenstrual dysphoric disorder including psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, and medications.

What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is characterized by mood and physical symptoms in the two weeks leading up to menstruation that resolve or improve at the beginning of a woman’s period. This occurs regularly during most menstrual cycles. The cause is unknown, but some women seem to be sensitive to hormonal changes that occur during a normal menstrual cycle, even though hormone levels are normal. PMDD occurs in approximately 3-8% of reproductive aged women and is a risk factor for postpartum depression. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs in up to 75% of women. In PMS, physical and emotional symptoms are typically mild and do not impair work performance or relationships as in PMDD. Many women with PMDD also suffer from depression, and distinguishing between the two is best done with the help of therapist or psychiatrist.

Risk Factors

  • Personal history of mood disorder
  • Family history of PMDD
  • Age in 20-30’s


  • Irritability, mood swings
  • Sensitivity to rejection
  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Appetite change
  • Breast tenderness/abdominal bloating


A diagnosis of PMDD is best made by a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or therapist. It is helpful to track symptoms and when they occur. A useful screening tool is the Daily Record of Severity of Problems Scale.



Psychotherapy can be helpful for PMDD, and can also be used in conjunction with other treatments. In particular, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment.


Medication is an effective option for moderate to severe PMDD. Antidepressants are the first line treatment for moderate to severe PMDD. For patients already on an antidepressant, sometimes an increase in dose can improve symptoms during the premenstrual period. Here at ColumbiaDoctors, our psychiatrists combine a thorough evaluation of each individual’s problems with the latest research to design a customized treatment plan. 

How Can I Receive Treatment for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) at Columbia?

At ColumbiaDoctors, we provide the full array of treatment for PMDD including psychotherapy and medication management

Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist with expertise in PMDD.

To make an appointment, please call 212-305-6001 or submit our online form.