The Multiple Facets of Eve: The Place of Premenstrual Syndrome in the Taxonomy of Affective Behavior
My interest in premenstrual syndrome (PMS) was, like Virginia Cassara’s (see her chapter, this volume), personally motivated. Where hers was a response to subjectively felt distress associated with the premenstrual phase of her cycle, mine, while also a reaction to such experiences, was necessarily observational. I have known a young woman undergoing troublesome periodic changes of mood who, once she had related these to her menstrual cycle, sought medical help and information with only limited success. One has only to see and know such a person, let alone to be one, in order to be convinced that the phenomenon we are here calling PMS is real, and that whatever psychological manifestations are involved, that it is also biologically based by virtue of its tight correlation with the hormonal events associated with the menstrual cycle. It would seem, therefore, a reasonable expectation to find clinical studies in which hormonal differences between women experiencing premenstrual psychological stress and women not seriously affected in this way would have been described, and, further, to find clinical practice taking advantage of these findings and providing diagnostic tests to identify the particular imbalance involved in each case, as well as the means to achieve a normal equilibrium with the expected amelioration of symptoms. Given the complexity of the hormonal systems involved in the menstrual cycle, it was also my expectation that there would be multiple etiologies, and that these would not necessarily be confined to the hormonal changes associated with the cycle, but would include neural and psychological events as well.
KeywordsAggressive Behavior Menstrual Cycle Premenstrual Syndrome Premenstrual Symptom Affective Behavior
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