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Study: Teen Pill Use Tied to 130% Higher Depression Risk

June 15, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to a recent extensive study involving over 264,000 women, the use of oral contraceptive pills has been associated with an elevated risk of depression, especially during the initial stages of pill usage, reports the NY Post. Teenage girls, in particular, face the highest risk.

The study reveals that women who started taking birth control pills during their teenage years experienced a staggering 130% higher rate of depression compared to those who did not use oral contraceptives. Among adult users, the increased rate was still significant, reaching 92%, as reported by the study authors.

In a news release, Therese Johansson, of the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University in Sweden said, “The powerful influence of contraceptive pills on teenagers can be ascribed to the hormonal changes caused by puberty.”

“As women in that age group have already experienced substantial hormonal changes, they can be more receptive not only to hormonal changes but also to other life experiences,” Johansson added.

A recent study utilizing data from the UK Biobank, a comprehensive biomedical database, examined the relationship between combination contraceptive pills and mental health. The study focused on these pills, which consist of progestogen and estrogen, substances resembling natural hormones.

A 2016 report published in JAMA Psychiatry revealed a notable correlation between the use of hormonal contraceptives and subsequent prescription antidepressant usage or depression diagnosis.

Similarly, a separate study conducted in 2019 unveiled that teenage girls, specifically 16-year-olds, who took oral contraceptives experienced more crying, irregular sleep patterns, and eating problems compared to their counterparts who did not use oral contraceptives.

According to the recent study, the rate of depression was found to decrease when women consistently used contraceptive pills beyond the initial two-year period. However, teenage users of the pill experienced a continued higher rate of depression even after discontinuation, whereas this effect was not observed among adult users.

Despite these findings, the authors of the study highlighted that the majority of women who use hormonal contraceptives do so with minimal or no significant adverse side effects.

“It is important to emphasize that most women tolerate external hormones well, without experiencing negative effects on their mood, so combined contraceptive pills are an excellent option for many women,” Johansson said.

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