It’s so much fun getting accused of having PMS whenever you get upset or take a stance about something. /Sarcasm. Women have to combat the myth that they are “emotional” and “moody” on a daily basis. Let’s get real, arguments about periods and PMS were made against Hillary Clinton when she was running for President. This is a real issue, so when the DSM V decided to add PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder as an actual mental disorder, it raised a few eyebrows because—ugh—now ignorant people will think they have a legitimate reason to dismiss women.
Part of the problem, as NPR’s Amy Stadden describes it, is that when you classify something as a mental disorder it has the stigma of a mental disorder. PMDD only affects 1% of women and is essentially defined by having premenstrual symptoms, two weeks prior to a period, so severe that they interfere with a person’s daily activities. It’s not as though a PMDD sufferer begins to hear voices that aren’t there or disassociate once a month so much as they have really bad cramps.
What’s troubling is that women can be dismissed as having a mental disorder when the actual meaning of PMDD versus the connotation are very different. Stadden and Jezebel also point out that this feels a lot more like a scheme for pharmaceutical companies to profit off of a female illness.
“One textbook example is the prescription drug Sarafem, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 as a treatment for PMDD. In reality, Sarafem is identical to the widely prescribed SSRI antidepressant Prozac, or fluoxetine. The patent on Prozac was about to expire, and manufacturer Eli Lilly faced losing market share to generic versions. So Lilly gave Prozac a new name, Sarafem, and painted it pink. What had been a generic drug that cost 25 cents a pill was marketed as a PMDD-specific drug for $10 a pill.”
Seems super shady and problematic. On the other hand people who actually suffer from PMDD actually may benefit from having it in the DSM V in terms of health insurance and seeking health.