Prevalence of lifetime self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in a global sample of 599 patients reporting prospectively confirmed diagnosis with premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Abstract

Background

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans ages 10 to 34, with alarming recent increases in suicide rates among those assigned female at birth. A large body of evidence points to menstrual cycle influences on self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (STBs), suggesting that neurobiological hormone sensitivities, such as in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), may drive suicide risk in females. However, existing studies of STBs in PMDD use cross-sectional self-report measures of PMDD with poor validity. As a first step to establish accurate prevalence rates of STBs in PMDD, we examined the lifetime prevalence of STBs in a large global survey of patients reporting a diagnosis of PMDD based on daily ratings.

Method

Individuals with self-reported PMDD symptoms were invited to an online survey through online support groups for PMDD and social media posts from PMDD awareness accounts. Participants reported demographics, whether they had been diagnosed with PMDD by a healthcare provider using daily ratings, STBs using the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale, and history of lifetime comorbid psychiatric diagnoses.

Results

Of 2,689 survey completers, 599 (23%) reported a diagnosis with PMDD based on two months of daily ratings and were included in analyses. We observed high rates of lifetime active suicidal ideation (72%), planning (49%), intent (42%), preparing for an attempt (40%), and attempt (34%), as well as non-suicidal self-injury (51%). The majority (70%) of the sample reported at least one lifetime comorbid psychiatric diagnosis. Predictors of lifetime active suicidal ideation included nulliparity, low-to-moderate (vs. high) income, and history of diagnosis with major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Predictors of lifetime attempts among those reporting lifetime active ideation included older age, nulliparity, lower income, and history of diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder or borderline personality disorder.

Conclusions

These data indicate high rates of STBs among those reporting prospective diagnosis of PMDD and highlight the need for prospective research on mechanisms and prevention of STBs in PMDD. Clinical practice guidelines for PMDD should accommodate comorbidities and recommend frequent screenings for STB risk. STBs should be considered for inclusion in future iterations of the DSM PMDD diagnostic criteria.

Eisenlohr-Moul, T., Divine, M., Schmalenberger, K., Murphy, L., Buchert, B., Wagner-Schuman, M., Kania, A., et al. (2022). Prevalence of lifetime self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in a global sample of 599 patients reporting prospectively confirmed diagnosis with premenstrual dysphoric disorderBMC Psychiatry22(1), 199.