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Mood Disorder History and Personality Assessment in Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(9):688-693

Background: Menstrually related dysphoria is known to be associated with other affective disorders, notably major depressive disorder and puerperal depression. The relationship between premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and maladaptive personality disorders and traits, however, is less established, at least in part because of the methodological and nosologic difficulties in the diagnosis of both PMDD and personality disorders. This study seeks to address this problem to elucidate the relationship between PMDD, other affective disturbances commonly experienced by women, and maladaptive personality.

Method: Axis I and II disorders were examined using standardized instruments and stringent diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV and the International Personality Disorders Examination) in 34 women with DSM-IV PMDD and 22 healthy women without severe premenstrual mood changes.

Results: Seventy-seven percent of the PMDD group had suffered from a past Axis I disorder in comparison with 17% of the control group. Two thirds of the parous women with PMDD had suffered from major depressive disorder in the puerperium. Personality disorder diagnoses were not highly represented in either group of women. The women with PMDD had significantly more obsessional personality traits (p < .001) but not absolute personality disorder diagnoses.

Conclusion: Obsessional symptoms are known to cluster with the affective disorders and may reflect underlying temperamental and biological vulnerability. This study provides further evidence of the link between serotonergic dysregulation, personality vulnerability, and mood changes related to the female reproductive cycle.