The Mental Health Effects of Birth Control (Hormonal Contraceptive)
Hormonal contraceptives are common among women. They’ve been recommended to aid in pregnancy prevention, to help ease PMS symptoms, and for other medical needs. Often doctors prescribe hormonal contraceptives without expressing the mental health side effects. The truth is hormonal contraceptives DO effect our mental wellness!
Over the years, I have worked with many women who reported depression symptoms, specifically worsening the week before their period (often known as PMDD- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). How many women took anti-depressants with no relief of depressive symptoms also took a hormonal contraceptive? The struggle of these women is real! I have also worked with many moms of teenage girls who felt compelled to place their daughters on hormonal contraceptives to help with menstrual cycle woes, decrease pregnancy risk, and took on the false belief that a hormonal contraceptive will act as a mood stabilizer to help their daughter emotionally regulate.
According to Dr. Caroline Kamau, “hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of depression by 34-70 percent” and “treble the risk of suicide or double the risk of suicide attempts”. The reality is clear. How many women taking hormonal contraceptives have accepted an MDD or PMDD diagnosis and blindly took anti-depressants hoping it would increase their mood? How many women placed their daughters on hormonal contraceptives thinking it would help her?
As a woman myself, I fell into the trap of believing hormonal contraceptives were helpful, not harmful. I have trusted my physician who reported “they’re safe” and followed their recommendations of switching to another brand or type of hormonal contraceptive when I reported depressive symptoms, including SI. As a mental health therapist, I am appalled by these statistics and felt a responsibility to spread this knowledge. We need to be informed consumers and take a closer look at what we put into our bodies.
At Women Empowerment Counseling, we take a holistic approach in treating depression, which utilizes lifestyle changes and behavior therapy. This includes encouraging you to look at the medications you’re prescribed, your diet & nutrition, and certain lifestyle habits. Some natural ways to heal depression that I recommend to clients are:
1. Include important vitamins and supplements into your daily routine, such as Iron, Vitamin D, and Zinc.
2. Ensure you’re eating healthy and getting enough protein and complex carbs, including Collagen.
3. Incorporate healthy lifestyle habits, such as social connection and exercise.
4. Participate in individual therapy, specifically CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), to help you learn how to be your own therapist and manage negative thoughts or suicidal ideation. Click here to schedule an appointment today!
Please join WEC in spreading the word! #letsgetwelltogether
For continued reading & education, I recommend the following:
· Mental and Physical Health Risks of Hormonal Contraception (Dr. Kamau’s Psychology Today article)
· Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: creating happiness with meditation, yoga, and ayurveda (book by Nancy Liebler, Ph.D., and Sandra Moss, MSPH)
· Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (book by Dr. Daniel Amen)
Thanks for reading!