Health

Birth Control and Depression: Are You At Risk?

Okay, we’re emotional. And if we’ve learned anything from the movie Inside Out, it’s that being emotional is pretty cool. Also, and this is important, sadness is an essential feeling, it’s a badge of courage that should be worn with pride.

During that time of the month (slash all times), we can experience varying degrees of sadness, even depression. If you’re on birth control, this can be even more acute and we may now understand this correlation a bit more. Recent studies have shown a relationship between depression and birth control.

At the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, their study was the first to show a linkage. They found that those who are on birth control have a 40% higher risk of experiencing depression.

The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, has been heralded as groundbreaking for its depth and breadth, even if it seems to only confirm what some women say they’ve been feeling for years — that their hormonal contraceptives make them sad.”

This is most notable among teens. For adolescents age 15 to 19 taking combined oral contraceptives, the use of anti-depressants increased 80 percent. 

Conversely, the study showed that those who have been on the pill longer than four to seven years, had lower incidences of depression.

The results are significant, but skeptics cite that there is no proven causation, rather a relationship. One question many can probably agree on is: should there be screening for depressive risk factors before starting the pill?

If you’re on the pill (or another method of bc), you may be asking: Should I stop taking my birth control?

Not unless you feel like you need to. You know your body. Checking in with your mental health is essential. This is important no matter if you are on birth control, planning to start, or not. Take care of yourself. If you are feeling depressed, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

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