P.M.D.D. - New Syndrome, Same Old Story - GCN-NEWS@5:45 am PST
By Madeline Behrendt, D.C.
Woman, Go to the mirror. Life is captured in our face. What do you see?
Eyes that are our personal camera, they catch and record the moments of our days - of
landscapes, of faces, of how the world looks back at us. Our nose has catalogued
memories of so many scents - just a familiar whiff can evoke our return anywhere, from
sun tan lotion to brownies to rain soaked grass. Cheeks, which respond instantly to help
form our many expressions, have participated in decades of laughter. Lips that have
tasted both a lover's urgency and the incredible, innocent softness of a baby's skin. Ears
that have heard so many stories, so many songs, so many times someone has called our
Woman, our face is more than the sum of it's components, our face, our image, is a
canvas celebrating the unique story of our life. How does women's image fare out there in
the world? Hmmmm.
Women understand that fortunes are spent to shape and influence how we define our self
image. So it was no surprise that following the creation of a new disorder - P.M.D.D.
(Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) - an advertising campaign arrived to stimulate market
demand for the disorder's associated drug, Sarafem.
The images promoted by the campaign initially portray women as dark, angry, antisocial,
their faces distorted, who are suggested to be transformed through the "miracle" of this
medication into models of pacification. Sign me up? - Not so fast.
For women who experience stress related to their cycle, we'll address this topic shortly.
First let's be clear on what is being promoted to us, so we can choose well.
P.M.D.D. is described as a condition where symptoms interfere in day to day
activities/relationships and are limited to the 1-2 weeks prior to the start of their cycle.
Reports indicate that it is not to be confused with PMS (but doesn't state the
differences), and P.M.D.D. is classified as a mental, not physical disorder.
The disorder is diagnosed by symptoms. Following are 2 groups of symptoms, one
represents symptoms associated with P.M.D.D., the other represents side effects of
Sarafem. Can you identify the corresponding groups? (answers at end)
Group 1: irritability, tension, depression, mood swings
Group 2: irritability, tension, sadness, decreased sexual desire and/or satisfaction
While the "cause" of this disorder remains unidentified, the drug Sarafem, is promoted as
the "solution". This is causing controversy among all communities, as Sarafem contains
the same active, main ingredient as Prozac. News sources report that Prozac had been
threatened with the early loss of it's patent, and with a new disorder, a new name, a new
market, a new exclusive patent is possible.
Sarafem was tested for only 6 months, and severe systemic adverse events did occur.
Significant cautions are listed associated with driving, and some drug interactions. A
special note: women using birth control pills were excluded from the trials.
A trend today includes the shift in diagnosis from physical to mental, but does the label of
having a mental disorder empower women? More trends: would anyone be surprised if a
gene for PMDD was "discovered", or a vaccine created? We want medicine to make
progress, but do not ask us to confuse promoting disease with restoring and promoting
health. Is any of this really progress - medicate as a first resort (often for life), distort
the ability of the body to recognize feedback (symptoms), and when tolerance to a
medication occurs try another or try more? Or is this only an example of new syndrome,
same old story?
As a chiropractor, I'd like to acknowledge the women who experience stress associated
with their cycle, who's life force is blocked. You'll want to know that while our life is
captured in our face, it is directed from our spine, and all functions and reactions are
under the control and direction of the nervous system. Interference to the nervous
system is described as subluxation, and chiropractors are the only professionals trained
and qualified to detect and address subluxations.
If the body is giving feedback that stress is present, doesn't it make sense to check the
master control system/nervous system first? Healing starts from the inside. And while
medication is an option, we already have an internal drugstore that is responsible for
responding to our needs, think how important it must be for the nerve flow responsible for
this communication to be functioning properly! Medication can interfere with the feedback
of the body - in fact that is it's purpose, so a problem can continue, or escalate, without
awareness that there is an internal war going on in the body. Looking forward - how does
this affect a woman's life?
While it is not uncommon for women to notice a change in their emotions prior to and
during their menstrual cycle - does this mean we have a "disorder"? Let's turn to the
Innate wisdom of the body's design for guidance. Studies have demonstrated that women
become right brain dominant during this time, i.e. hear more negative words out of a
presented list. It is suggested that in this part of her cycle, a woman is naturally meant
to be more in touch with what does not fit in her life, with what needs to change in her
life and her relationships, and this gives rise to a woman's intuition. How tragic that this
lesson would be altered. How tragic if a woman did not receive support to allow this
natural process of life to occur successfully.
As a woman goes to the mirror, does her reflection offer features full of life or the effects
of chemical alteration? 1st step for more life - get checked for subluxations. And as we're
all responsible for the information that is put out in the world - let's tell the big story - of
how chiropractic can contribute to women's health. Simply, successfully, Chiropractic
(Note: Group 1:PMDD Group 2:Sarafem)
Dr. Madeline Behrendt is the author of A Woman's Experience/A.W.E.(TM) Reports On
Women's Health Topics
The HERSTORY of Bones by Dr. Madeline Behrendt