Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.
<p>Fall reads. </p>
Whether you love a thriller or autobiographies, we've got something for everyone to add to their fall reading list.
For the music fan
In this tell-almost-all memoir, Brian Wilson candidly reflects on his struggles with family, substance abuse and mental illness and digs deep into the inspiration and meaning behind his music. It's a must-read for any fan of The Beach Boys—or the '60s pop scene, in general—with big-name music icons of the era (Phil Spector, Carole King, Paul McCartney) featuring in many of the stories. — Jes Watson
I Am Brian Wilson (Random House Canada) by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman, $34.
For the thespian
Margaret Atwood revisits William Shakespeare's The Tempest in a new novel about Felix Phillips, a man who is wrongfully fired from his job as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. He becomes the drama teacher at a nearby prison and, when an opportunity for theatrical revenge arises, launches a trick-filled production of The Tempest for his former coworkers. Even if you've never enjoyed Shakespeare, you'll love this hilarious—and sometimes tragic—retelling of his final play. — Andrea Karr
Hag-Seed (Knopf Canada) by Margaret Atwood, $30.
For the history buff
From one of the most successful authors of all time, Danielle Steel, comes a new work of fiction about Gaëlle, a French teenager who endures unspeakable loss during the Second World War, which inspires her to join the French Resistance. She spends years rescuing Jewish children and trying to protect France's artistic heritage, only to be wrongly accused of collaboration at the end of the war—until many years later, when her granddaughter fights to have Gaëlle's heroism recognized. — AK
The Award (Delacorte Press) by Danielle Steel, $37.
For the crime lover
In John Grisham's latest legal thriller (his 29th!), Florida judge Claudia McDover comes under the scrutiny of the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct when a secretive whistleblower claims McDover is corrupt. The accusation?
The judge has spent years under the thumb of Florida's "Coast Mafia," which skims money off the top of a casino on aboriginal land (in addition to hundreds of other sometimes-violent crimes), then pays her a hefty fee to ensure that any legal disputes are quickly silenced. A slow and steady read, this novel offers a fascinating look at the inner workings of an elaborate crime ring and all the layers of corruption and deceit that run through each level of business, local leadership, law enforcement and the justice system. — AK
The Whistler (Doubleday) by John Grisham, $37.
For the suspense addict
Based on the 2015 hit novel, the film adaptation of The Girl on the Train lands in theatres on Oct. 7 with Emily Blunt in the lead role of Rachel Watson, an alcoholic divorcée whose husband left her for another woman. Rachel rides the train every day, passing by the house of her husband and his new family, as well as an attractive couple a few doors down—until one day, something terrible happens. — AK
The Girl on the Train (Anchor Canada) by Paula Hawkins, $22.
Quick and easy days to boost your mood
Feeling blue? Here are three simple ways to instantly boost your mood.
Whether it's a rough day at work, you had a fight with your partner or you're struggling with your personal finances, there's no denying that life's little obstacles can put a damper on your mood. But you don't have to suffer through these bad feelings, especially when there are so many easy ways to turn that frustration and sadness around.
1. Focus on the positive
It can be easy to fall prey to negative thoughts and emotions, but all that really accomplishes is upping your stress levels. Stop thinking about everything that's going wrong and start thinking about the positive things in your life. Are you looking forward to a date this weekend? Or maybe you've just finished a great workout. Are you going home to a loving family? It doesn't matter what the source of the happiness is, so long as you feel it. It's these positive thoughts that can ease your mind and lift your spirits.
2. Give yourself a break
Do you feel too stressed out or exhausted from your routine? Perhaps you're juggling too many things at once and simply need to give your body and mind a break. Take your mind off your troubles by doing something you know will put a smile on your face, like going dancing with your friends, playing games with your pet or treating yourself to a spa treatment. You'll feel much more relaxed and you'll be able to deal with what's troubling you with some clarity.
3. Talk about your problems
If you have a problem that you can't get off your mind, find someone you trust to talk to about it. They may understand what you're going through and will be able to offer you advice and support. Voicing your frustrations to a good listener will also help you destress, and you'll feel happier knowing there's someone on your side.
More ways to feel happier
9 ways to get healthy and happy
Are you stressed out, overweight, overworked, uninspired, or plagued by negative emotions? Not a problem -- anyone can achieve health and happiness by trying out some new behaviours and attitudes, and working at it step-by-step. Here are nine ways to achieve a fit body and soul.
How to find happiness in 5 easy steps
The building blocks of enduring happiness can be yours with these expert tips on how to find happiness and live a happy life.
8 more ways to feel happier:
Get healthy and happy now
Get happy right away with these 10 great tips for better health.
Photo gallery: 10 ways to get healthy and happy now
The best ways to have more fun while staying true to your fitness goals.
Photo gallery: 16 ways to have a better day
Check out these 16 simple pleasures to heighten your happiness.
Destress, decompress: 5 ways to feel better
Five easy ways to take care of yourself and lower your stress -- mind, body and soul.
Discover the power of positive thinking
A confident, upbeat approach to life can lead to living loger and healthier.
9 ways to stop being negative
Learn nine ways to shift your thinking for a happier you.
Photo gallery: 9 ways to stop being negative
Find out how you can get rid of negative emotions and feel happier.
Stress busters: Easy mind and body exercises for a happier life
Over 20 easy stress busters to calm your nerves and lighten your mood.
A new study from the CDC has found that cat-scratch disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection, is more common that previously thought.
Did you know? That cuddle session with Cleo could be making you sick. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that when left untreated, more people are suffering serious complications from cat-scratch disease. Here's what you need to know.
What is cat scratch disease (CSD)?
Cat-scratch disease (or fever) is a bacterial infection that can affect humans following a scratch or bite from an infected domestic or feral cat. It can also spread when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound. The bacterial infection is passed between cats by fleas and can spread to humans, making them ill.
How can you get cat-scratch disease?
Humans risk contracting the disease when they’re bitten, scratched—and even from nuzzling a cat. According to the CDC, most cat scratches do not result in cat-scratch disease, but though the disease is rare, the study found that the number of people who are infected and become seriously ill is on the rise.
What are the symptoms? Can there be more serious complications?
According to the CDC, the symptoms of cat-scratch fever include fever; enlarged, tender lymph nodes that develop one to three weeks after the initial scratch; and the infected area may appear swollen and red with round, raised lesion that can have pus. You may also have a headache, poor appetite and exhaustion.
How do you avoid CSD? How is it treated?
The CDC recommends washing your hands after playing with a cat—even if you haven’t been bitten. If you do get scratched, immediately clean the area with soap and water and watch for any symptoms. If these do develop, see your doctor immediately. In serious cases, treatment with antibiotics may be prescribed.