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Birth Control Pills and Depression

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Updated June 04, 2014

Birth Control Pills and Depression

Question: Can birth control pills cause depression?  This post from the forum would seem to to indicate that they can:  "I had been taking a birth control pill called Lo Ovral for the past 7 years and never had a problem. But then for 9 months straight, I purposely skipped my period by continuously taking the pill without taking placebos (one pack after another). I wanted to skip my period to avoid the horrible depression I would get during PMS. I read up on it and learned that this was supposedly safe... that women did not need to get a period. So I did this for 9 months. All of a sudden after 9 months, weird things started to happen.  I started to bleed/spot.  I NEVER spotted in the 7 years I had been on the pill.  The bleeding lasted 2 months, and then I knew something was wrong.  Also, I felt like I had PMS all the time.  I started to get panic attacks again (I hadn't had them in 7 years) and my depression was unbearable.  I knew I had to come off of the pill, but I was terrified of how bad my depression would be when my hormones would suddenly drop after discontinuing it.  Finally, I became so suicidal that I checked myself into a hospital.  I came off of the pill under their supervision."

Answer: While birth control pills are fairly safe when used as directed, they are not without risk.  One of the possible side effects of birth control pills is a change in mood.  Other possible common side effects include nausea, weight gain, sore or swollen breasts, spotting between periods and lighter periods.  In addition, women on the pill may have certain other less common, but more serious, side effects, such as abdominal pain, chest pain, headaches, blurred vision and swelling of the legs.

If you experience any of these side effects, including worsening depression, you should consult with your physician for advice.

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