Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)


This may have chanced since the original Addictionary. We will update it when we get a chance.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that is still shrouded in a lot of mystery, misunderstanding, and controversy. Experts disagree about its prevalence, but the consensus is that it does exist.

PMS and Addiction

An addict with PMS may experience most of her food or other cravings in the week before her period. She may also experience very profound mood swings, bloating, and lack of concentration during this time. These symptoms are thought to be the result of hormone cycles and imbalances that affect and are affected by the emotions.

Women suffering from PMS need to have their feelings validated, and they need as much information as is available to treat the symptoms. PMS does occur before menses, and is alleviated at or a day or two after the beginning of menses.


Women who are active addicts usually do things that aggravate the condition, and it may be hard to separate the PMS symptoms from those of addiction. Because of the interaction with nutrition and the emotions, PMS may disappear or be reduced with the onset of sobriety, recovery, or abstinence from compulsive eating, and with the relief many women feel when they find out this craziness is not just “in their heads.”


The good news is that the most common recommendations for dealing with PMS are also compatible with recovery from any addiction. MacMahon, in Women and Hormones (1990), says symptoms can often be alleviated if you:

  • Eliminate alcohol, smoking, and caffeine
  • Cut down on salt and sugar
  • Exercise regularly
  • Learn relaxation and stress reduction techniques
  • Eat a diet high in complex carbohydrates

Other suggestions include eliminating artificial sweeteners and getting plenty of rest.

Though PMS symptoms are unpleasant, it is helpful to know that your hormones are responsible and you are not crazy or emotionally unstable. Continue to use your Higher Power and your recovery program to help you.

Premenstrual syndrome, see also: Abstinence, Acceptance, Aftercare, Crisis, Delusion, Dichotomous thinking, Edema, Family, Eating addiction, Moderation, Nutrition, Pregnancy, Priorities, Progression, Relapse & prevention, Relaxation, Sabotage of recovery, Sponsorship, Step Three, Step Eleven, Stinking thinking, Surrender, Therapy & treatment, Tranquilizers.

Updated 12 Sep 2015

Creative Commons License
Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.