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Does the pill increase a woman's risk of depression?

Does the pill increase a woman's risk of depression?


It's surprising to know that even the most remote of things could cause depression. It's been common knowledge for ages that contraceptives can affect a woman's mood, but new research shows that these pills can increase depression risks by 73%. Isn't that concerning?

About 90% of women (that's practically almost all) have used contraceptives at some point in their lives. However, not all will be affected the same way, and certainly not when it's used just once or infrequently.

It appears that teens are more vulnerable when it comes to contraceptives and depression risks. Women who started using the pill as teenagers had a 130% higher chance of developing depression, while those who started as adults had a 92% chance, according to a new study.

Note: contraceptives as mentioned in this research refer to combined oral contraceptive pills usually called "the pill".

The researchers conducted the research by collecting data about how women used contraceptives, when they first started experiencing depression, and at what point they were diagnosed.

The result revealed that women who used the pill were more likely to develop depression than women who never used it. Using contraceptive pills increased women's risk of depression by 72 during the first two years of use.

Now here's something interesting.

The incidence of depression declined in adults after the first two years of using the pill. Could it be their body gradually got used to the pill?

But for teenagers on the pill, even stopping their use didn't reduce their depression risk; if anything, the incidence of depression among them increased.


But this isn't to scare anyone from using the pill. The advantages of using contraceptives are massive and cannot be understated. Especially among young women who aren't ready for unwanted pregnancies. Moreover, most women tolerate the external hormones from these pills well, so their mood isn't influenced.

But it's ideal to also be aware of the potential risks since some women are more vulnerable.

It falls on healthcare providers to educate their patients who come for the pill about the possible links between combined contraceptives and depression.

And if you're reading this as a young woman, now you have awareness.

However, this study doesn't apply to other contraceptives such as mini-pills, contraceptive patches, and hormonal spirals. So if you're very concerned, you can use any of these effective methods until we learn more.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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