Debilitating PMS Now Officially a Mental Disorder

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Premenstrual dysphoric disorder — the "PMS on steroids" that affects about one percent of women — was formally recognized as a distinct mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's newest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5. That's good news for the women who have life-interfering depression and anxiety in the two weeks leading up to their period and were previously misdiagnosed as crazy bitches. But it was a fraught decision for the manual's authors, as women's health specialist Dr. C. Neill Epperson told NPR news. "I think any time a disorder occurs more frequently in women or only in women, there's going to be a group of individuals who have concern that this will diminish women's role in society, their sense of being capable," she said. In other words, will the recognition of PMDD encourage doctors and drug companies to pathologize healthy women's emotional cycles? Will it give credence to the Neanderthals who "joke" that women might be too moody for public office? It's an all too legitimate concern. In 2000, when the patent on Prozac was about to expire, Eli Lilly rebranded it as Sarafem: a chemically identical drug, pinkwashed and marketed as PMDD specific for $10 a pill.