Mental HealthDepressionCan Birth Control Make You Depressed?

Can Birth Control Make You Depressed?


Today, women are increasingly aware of the many side effects of taking birth control pills, such as birth control and weight gain. In fact, those who are planning to use this method are asking how will it affect their lives; will they still feel normal or will birth control lead to potential depression?

What’s the Link Between Birth Control and Depression?

For your peace of mind before finally deciding to get on an oral birth control pill, let’s discuss about the alleged symptoms of depression from oral contraceptives.

It is not uncommon for women to experience self-described symptoms of mood swings and even depression during their monthly period. However, the use of oral birth control pills might not be the culprit. If you, like many women, assumed that depression is one of the side effects of taking pills, let’s get this out of the way. You might be surprised to find out that the overwhelming body of research confirms that birth control pills do not cause depression.

Mood Swings vs. Depression

According to latest research, hormonal birth control pills do not cause depression, although some women do experience slight changes in mood. There are a few nuances here, but first it’s important to understand the difference between “moods” and outright depression. The more frequently or more intensely felt – these feelings of sadness, sleeplessness, sudden-anger, feelings of unworthiness or guilt, ( or other symptoms ) the more likely your mood is actually depression. Depression, for example, by definition is 5 or more experiences of moody or intense unpleasant feelings in a two week period. It’s a spectrum.

Studies found out that those who are taking hormonal contraception are depressed less frequently than those who are not taking birth control pills. The study included more than 6,000 non-pregnant and sexually active women between the ages of 25 and 34.

Regardless of the research, many women say that hormonal contraceptives or birth control pills do affected their mood. It’s difficult to measure scientifically. There are other physical side effects of birth control that could result in elevated states of occasional stress or anxiety.


Dealing with Normal Mood Swings

Some doctors prescribe the use of antidepressants along with contraceptives in order to help women deal with the common side effects including mood swings. However, most women don’t believe that this is necessary for them since mood swings only take place during certain moments. And most of them already get used to these depressive states that happen from time to time.

Birth control which interferes with hormonal levels may cause certain side effects. It’s important to understand what’s going on physically, so that you can understand how this affects your mental state. Ignoring the relationship between the two is a big part of the problem with misdiagnosing the relationship between birth control pills and depression.

Every woman is different and may have particular side effects that others may not experience. However, to understand more of these signs, the following are the side effects of using birth control for women:

  • Reduced libido – some women get less active in sex after taking contraceptives and other birth control pills.
  • Vertigo – there will be slight or terrible dizziness and this is actually common as birth control side effect.
  • Mood swings – this another common cause of hormonal contraception that most women across the globe experience.
  • Irritability – women tend to be more irritable as they respond to birth control symptoms. In fact, others tend to more crabby and highly sensitive so people need to get some distance during these times to avoid further irritability.
  • Nausea – women taking contraceptives also feel nauseated during some moments.

Understanding Depression in a Scientific Context

Overall, if we try to look at the bigger picture, birth control somewhat affects mental health although research confirmed that depression is not likely to happen just by taking contraceptives or birth control pills. In fact, previous studies conducted in earlier times concluded that adverse effects caused by birth control to women’s mood only have short term effects and we call it mood swings.

Thus, it’s important to consider that depression is very much common to people and that anyone can experience this even without taking contraceptives or birth control medications. Every woman has their moment when they consider taking birth control medications. By the time, whether they are 14 or 26 years of age, they decide to start having an active lifestyle; mood can be somewhat unbalanced due to certain situations they are experiencing.

And those who do not plan to bear child, eventually take contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. Mood swings can be a common problem to women especially during puberty. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that depression is caused by birth control. You may feel helpless or have no control when it comes to your emotions during these times but all you need is some time alone. This will help you avoid getting more irritable situations like when you try to blend in during gatherings.

Best Thing to Do

You can just stay at home when you feel it’s the time of day when you don’t want to talk and just sit in the corner. Your emotions may change in lightning strike, but rest assured that taking contraceptives isn’t the main reason why you’re getting depressed. Try to talk to your family doctor and you will see how birth control helps in lowering depressive states unlike your assumptions.

Hi, I'm Samantha. I live in Seattle and I develop logistics management software. I'm also a fitness and health advocate and an assistant editor for the AP!

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