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The Pill and Depression

Q: I have recently heard that taking the birth control pill can help with depression and moodiness. Is there any truth to this?

Thank you for your time, Heather

Dr. Donnica:
The answer is "it depends."  Birth control pills are often successful in reducing depressive or moodiness symptoms associated with PMS or with perimenopause.  They have not been shown to reduce the depressive symptoms of true depression. In fact, in some women, birth control pills can worsen those symptoms. 

Different pills may also have different effects. In general, the "stronger" the progesterone component of the Pill, the more likely depressive symptoms are to worsen.  If you think you have depression, I recommend that you talk with your primary care physician or a mental health professional to get the specific advice you need and deserve regarding the treatment of your depression, as well as your contraceptive needs.

Click here for more information about contraception.

Click here for more information about depression or other mental health issues.

With best regards,
Donnica Moore MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 9/15/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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