Birth Control Linked to Depression, Especially in Adolescents: Study

The study concluded that the use of hormonal contraceptives was associated with a higher likelihood of using antidepressants and being diagnosed with depression.

A new study from JAMA Psychiatry discovered a link between birth control use and depression, particularly when it comes to adolescent women.

The study looked at over one million women. When they were prescribed certain forms of hormonal contraceptives, their chance of being diagnosed with depression more than doubled.

However, a psychiatrist specializing in children and teens at Kaiser Permanente spoke with NBC 7, and expressed skepticism towards the study. She said that like most studies it has a flaw because it only looked at the womens' medical records without considering other factors.

"That is the age that incidents of depression significantly increase and so probably that is the reason that we're seeing some correlation, but it's not clear in this study," Dr. Breda Velasquez said.

Dr. Velasquez says not all teens have issues when going through hormonal changes but because the study looks at medical records, it asks more questions than it gives answers.

"This is not a new topic in psychiatry. So there are many other studies that look into (the) relationship just with hormones in general and link to psychiatric disorders," she said.

Data from the study out of the University of Copenhagen does show a distinct link between birth control users and depression. There are various forms of birth control and so the percentages vary for each one.

Dr. Velasquez also says like most studies, you can find a flaw in this particular one in that the study just looked at medical records of women in their teens and twenties and did not look into other reasons that could cause depression.

If you have concerns, Dr. Velasquez says to consult your physician before making any drastic changes.

The study came out just before National Depression Screening Day, which is Thursday, Oct. 6.

Read the full study, including effects of individual forms of birth control, by clicking here.

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