PMDD or Bipolar: What’s the difference?

I’ve seen arguments arise on the internet with some quick to say what Bipolar is and what PMDD “ain’t”.

Of course medical doctors who do not have experience with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) have field day as well, not knowing the latest research or understanding the various symptoms of PMDD.

Some say that if you have a manic or hypomanic episodes, you are definitely Bipolar, no need to look further into to this thing.

Honestly, contrary to popular belief, there is really only one way to figure out if a person has Bipolar or PMDD.

PMDD does include mania and hypomania episodes in a woman who may have severe symptoms; along with other symptoms like depression, suicidal thoughts, tension, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, anger, irritability, lack of interest in daily activities, trouble thinking or focusing, fatigue, low energy, food cravings, binge eating, trouble sleeping, feeling out of control, and physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain as well.

This is why many women with PMDD are misdiagnosed with rapid-cycling Bipolar.

The only way to establish the difference in the two is charting a menstrual cycle and symptoms.

If symptoms begin to appear up to 10–14 days before the menstrual cycle and begin to ease up as your period appears, this is PMDD.

But what about Bipolar with premenstrual mood exacerbation (PME)? (I know someone is thinking of this). Well if this is the case, you should and can experience a variety of symptoms throughout the entire month instead of just 2 weeks. It just may get worse around your menstrual cycle.

Also, you may want to take into account any other underlying issues that could be contributing to those issues during the 2 weeks you are not battling PMDD.

For instance, say you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) as well. Some people with PCOS experience depression and/or mood swings. The rise and fall of hormones are more rigid and dramatic than a woman with the reproductive system without PCOS. Your body can have some discomforting reactions for quick shifts in hormones.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

So the take away is to know your body and do your research. You are your own expert on you!

What do you know about PMDD? Anything you can share with others could help someone else on their journey. We are never alone! Comment below.

Published by Asha Griffin, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH

I am Asha Griffin, a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina. I am dedicated to improving the mental health of others and helping them to "tend to their gardens". My goal is to inspire people in finding better balance in their lives.

One thought on “PMDD or Bipolar: What’s the difference?

  1. Good read. Excellent call to action. “So the take away is to know your body and do your research. You are your own expert on you!” Stay eternally blessed Ms Asha.

    Liked by 1 person

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