Depression Archives

PMDD & Depression

PMDD & DepressionDepression is a lot more understood by mental health professionals and medical science in general, yet the public perception of depression is still lagging well behind. Women with depression are often poorly understood by their partners, peers, friends and family leading to even more isolation, confusion, resentment, and sometimes self harm which is VERY saddening. Depression however can be sporadic in some women which might be a sign of bipolar disorder if accompanied by extreme highs at other times. It can also occur a week or two before the onset of your period. If this is the case then your depression might be linked to PMDD or PMS.

This can be even more confusing to people watching your behaviour as it seems to the outside world to be erratic that for half the month or more you can be fine then a fit of surly, crying, sad sackery (I just made a word up – sue me) hits seemingly without warning. For you however it might be entirely expected as it happens like clockwork just like your period with the two intrinsically linked. So why is this happening? How can you tell if you really have depression? And what are the long term effects? Lets break this down:

Why are PMDD & Depression Linked?

Why are PMDD and Depression Linked?PMDD is a disorder that messes with a women’s hormones as it gets closer and closer to menses. The reasons for the crazy out of control hormonal situation is varied and comes partly from genetic disposition, partly from lifestyle choices, and partly from various things and situations out of your control as well.

This article will not focus on the root causes of PMDD though, suffice to say that your body is not in balance and various hormones are lacking, and others are all too present. It also means that the pathways that carry hormones around the body get clogged up and misused. This in turn creates a knock on effect to the regulation of many parts of the body such as weight management, pain management, and brain chemical management.

There are a number of hormones and brain chemicals that control our moods which can get a severe beating during PMDD or PMS time. Serotonin, Dopamine, and other Neurotransmitters that control your mood regulation and proper functioning are throwing out of balance or cannot work optimally due to a number of hormonally related factors. The result in some women is a crash of your mood going so low to be classed as clinical depression. Others might just get a little low and sad, while other women might become angry and manic even. Each person reacts differently – but without a balanced hormonal state you can end up with depression and even suicidal thoughts.

Symptoms of Depression & PMDD

Symptoms of Depression and PMDDWhat determines actual depression though as opposed to a low mood, or a persistent sadness? While no symptoms of PMDD should be seen as less than others, it is important to know the actual definition, especially if it is becoming so problematic you need to seek medical assistance. The list below contains common primary symptoms of depression.

  • Overwhelming feelings of fear and sadness – or a complete inability to feel anything at all, like emptiness inside of you.
  • Massively decreased interest in any pleasurable activities.
  • Markedly changed appetite, either eating more or less …
  • Changed sleep patterns with you either getting too much, too little, or intermittent sleep.
  • Slowing down of thought and of physical movement nearly every day, or the opposite where you thoughts and actions speed up and you might also feel anxious.
  • Lethargy, feeling tired and run down, both physically and mentally.
  • Feeling emotional such as feeling guilty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, or isolated and alone as well.
  • Feeling like the people closest to you might abandon you at any moment.
  • Troubles with memory and staying focused on what you need to do, or decision you need to make.
  • Recurring thoughts about dying and death in general. Sometimes accompanied by intrusive thoughts about lying down and just switching off your body, stopping breathing etc. Not necessarily suicidal planning, but thoughts of dying.

Long Term Effects of Depression with PMDD

To start with this depression might only come about for a few days ro a week and go away when you begin to bleed. However there is a nastier long term consequence to PMDD & Depression. Continual depressive thoughts cause patterns in your brain that can lead to anxiety and depression beyond the bounds of your PMDD. Smaller fluctuations of hormones will set this off and you might soon be depressed fro ALL of the month not just a few days. Not every women goes that far but it is something to be aware of – but the answer is not to cure depression, it is to understand and solve the root problems that are causing ALL of your PMDD symptoms as well as the depressive states.

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PMDD Help To Stop Depression

If you are suffering from severe lows in the week or so before your period that border on, or fully put you into depression, you need some PMDD help before this starts to destroy your mental health, your work, and your relationships.

Depression is one of the worst symptoms of PMDD or even PMS when bad enough. It saps your strength, it leave you listless and unmotivated, it can cause fits of crying and sobbing, and the worst thing for some is that it seems to be a never-ending downward spiral – even though they know it will come to an end when the period starts. The sheer fact it comes back again and again each month is terrifying enough to make even the good weeks soured because of the knowledge of the future pain and problems.

PMDD Help for Determination of Depression as a Symptom

The first thing to determine, before we get only more practical tips, is if your depression is JUST caused by PMDD. Once of the frustrating things about PMDD is that there are so many symptoms, that sometimes these get mixed up with symptoms of other problems you might also have in the background. Sometimes PMDD is just the tipping point of other underlying problems – while other times you might be perfectly healthy until the dreaded end of the cycle.

The easiest way to make sure you are on the right track is to be very careful when determining the PMDD symptoms and when they start and stop. The symptoms of PMDD should start to show in the last week of the menstrual cycle, but can start showing in the second last as well for some women. The symptoms typically get progressively worse until you begin to bleed. Once this happens the symptoms tend to go away very fast.

If you feel your depression fits in this window ONLY then this is most likely to be caused by the hormonal fluctuations of PMDD. If you are becoming depressed in the same manner but after your start bleeding or in the 3 weeks after that – then this might not be PMDD, but full blown depression that is made even worse by PMS or PMDD.

If this is the case, you might need more appropriate help to cure depression first and then see if this make an impact on your life, and even your PMDD!

So what PMDD Help To Stop Depression Is There?

OK, so assuming your depression is definitely linked to your menstrual cycle there are a number of things that you can do to help alleviate this one problem. In fact, many of the same things you do to help reduce depression will also help with other symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, or any other mood problems this conditions brings.

Diet

What we eat may be more important than many think. We all hear the new reports about eating healthy but what does that really mean? So many conflicting viewpoints, studies, and ‘experts’ telling us this and that. Overall, most of it is good advice, but what make the biggest difference for depression and PMDD? Here are a few targeted diet tips:

  • Avoid Sugary Foods – Sugar is a PMDD sufferers worst enemy. Many people with this condition have problems such as hypoglycaemia or insulin resistance. These are all caused by high and low blood sugar levels. Sugary foods upset our natural balance and send out bodies into peaks and troughs of glucose levels in the blood stream. When we are low on blood sugar depression is very common in those susceptible to it.
  • Avoid Packaged and Refined Foods – These types of foods are much like sugar. They have been refined so much that many of the nutrients have been stripped away. They more easily turn into glucose (energy) in the body leading to the problems shown above. Each fresh foods as much as possible to level out your blood sugar levels.
  • Eat Low GI Foods – A low GI food is one that breaks down into energy in a steady manner over time which allows the body to use that energy efficiently. High GI foods are like the ones above which spike your blood sugar. Low GI food list.

Exercise

Again, it seems obvious that exercise is good for us – but when depressed exercise seems like the furthest thing from our minds. How and when we exercise however make a huge difference to our mental health and physical health. Here are some ways you can move your body to benefit your moods and mind!

  • Consistency – One of the big problems women with PMDD have with exercise is a lack of consistency. I also had this problem. Every intention of being a regular exerciser fell away when PMDD hit, and then I would overcompensate on the other side. The sporadic nature meant I never really achieved anything until I started making sure to plan in regular exercise sessions. I actually did less work, but the benefits were much greater. This also means when you become depressed you are used to still getting up and going for a run or going to the gym. It becomes a habit that is harder to break.
  • Intensity – This can be hard for women who might have other conditions or injuries, but the more intense your workouts are the more you release mood stabilising hormones and chemicals in your brain. A good workout can have you on a small high immediately after, but the long term effects can help normalise your mood for days to come as well.
  • Strength Training – One thing that many women neglect is strength training. It is very easy to go and hit a treadmill or jog around the block. These are good things and are what is known as cardio workouts. It helps your heart and lungs and general health and fitness. Strength training however works the muscles and makes you stronger. It also aids in having a more intense workout which will flood your body with endorphins (a feel good hormone) that will help alleviate depression.

Herbal Treatments

Medication for PMDD and depression is a band aid patch that does not actually help in the long term. Medication works fast and relieves symptoms but does not cure the underlying issues. You can also become addicted to drugs and require them just to feel normal. With intermittent depression with PMDD this puts you on a rollercoaster ride at all stages of he month. As an alternative herbal remedies for depression and PMDD are a much safer and more long term option to normalising moods and curing this problem.

There are a number of excellent herbal solutions for PMDD, but one excellent one for depression in particular is St Johns Wort. This herb has shown in some studies to be just as powerful as medicinal anti-depressants but without the side effects of a drug.

You can buy this from many places online and locally as it is quite common. It is best to start taking this after your period starts to begin with though as it can take a few weeks to provide the most benefit so when PMDD comes again you will be prepared (do NOT mix with anti-depressant medication though!)

Support

Support is something that is not talked about enough. Some women are lucky to have very supportive families and friends while others might not. Some do not know how to get support either and simply hope it comes without working on it. Having the support when you need it is a piece of the puzzle that can often help you through even the roughest times with great PMDD help from your closest people.

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