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Anxiety Symptoms and Anxiety Disorders: How Are They Related to Premenstrual Disorders?

Kimberly A. Yonkers, M.D.

Published: August 1, 1997

Article Abstract

Premenstrual symptoms are common among young menstruating women, but the psychiatric disorderpremenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is seen only in approximately 3% of this group. Thesymptom profile of PMDD has been empirically derived from a number of investigations including alarge data base from five university centers. The most commonly reported symptoms are depressionand mood swings, but a substantial number of women report tension and anxiety. Lifetime psychiatricillness is also common in women with PMDD, and although mood disorders predominate, past historiesof anxiety disorders are also common, further suggesting an association between PMDD andanxiety disorders. The strongest data supporting such an association lie with challenge studies thathave been used to provoke panic in panic patients and are effective in precipitating panic attacks inwomen with PMDD. Finally, treatments that are effective for anxiety disorders are also useful in thetreatment of PMDD. In this paper, the above outlined relationship between anxiety disorders andPMDD is reviewed.

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