The Stress of PMS and Its Impact on Women's Mental Health
Wednesday, August 31 2016 Hannah Blum
The stress of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the impact on women's mental health is a topic that applies to women who fear this time of the month due to extreme emotional behavior and discomfort (Hormones and Women's Mental Health). A mental disorder, such as my diagnosis of bipolar, consists of high ups and low downs -- a disorder filled with extremes. The combination of PMS and a mood disorder is riskier than PMS without a mental disorder. Recently, I have noticed as I near menstruation, depressive thoughts and emotions intensify to an extent that concerns me. To add to the apprehension of this monthly upheaval, there are serious disorders related to PMS that have major impacts on women's mental health.
A woman's menstrual cycle usually occurs once a month. Many women, with or without a mental health condition, undergo irritability, intense stress, depression, anxiety, anger and changes in appetite because of their cycle. The stereotypes that surround a woman's menstrual cycle are similar to those of mental illness (What Is Stigma?). Women are hesitant to confront their moodiness in fear that it will be blamed on their menstrual cycle.
The emotional behavior can be extreme and potentially have a major impact on women's mental health. It is important to familiarize yourself with the signs which indicate when you should seek professional help. In any situation, when thoughts of suicide, self-harm or intensively negative thoughts occur, it is time to ask for help.
PMS, PMDD and Their Impact Women's Mental Health
A serious disorder associated with severe PMS symptoms is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). According to the Mayo Clinic, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt daily life, work and relationships. It consists of intense sadness, hopelessness and anxiety. One way to decipher between normal PMS symptoms and PMDD is to talk with some of your female friends. Ask questions about their PMS symptoms and analyze the differences. PMDD is a disorder that calls for medical attention and should be taken seriously.
Coping with PMS and Its Impact on Your Mental Health
Coping with the stress of PMS and its impact on mental health is important, especially before plunging ahead through your menstrual cycle, to prevent severe mood swings and reduce stress.
- Staying active and exercising is a great way to release pent up aggression. A simple walk or jog may make the difference in your day.
- Finding methods to relax, whether it be reading or watching Netflix in your pajamas, can help calm your mind. Relaxation helps to reduce stress and may lessen overwhelming thoughts.
- As delicious as a tub of chocolate ice cream may seem, it can increase feelings of despair. Balancing your diet and adding nutritious elements may help in fighting these uncomfortable feelings with body and mind.
When Is It Time to Seek Help?
Again, coping with PMS is necessary when you feel your emotional behavior is intensifying. However, if your behavior seems more erratic than usual, put the Snickers bar down and seek professional help.
The emotional pain I endured prior to, and during, my menstrual cycle was more than the typical symptoms of PMS. As someone diagnosed with bipolar two disorder, the last thing I need is more severe emotional extremes. A recent episode, prior to my menstrual cycle, consisted of erratic behavior that motivated me to acknowledge my severe PMS symptoms, and seek professional help.