Birth Control

Birth Control, Anxiety & Depression: Science Your Doctor Didn’t Tell You

by Mike Mutzel


Hormonal birth control is linked with altered mood states, including anxiety and depression as well as exaggerated responses to stress.

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Time Stamps

00:00 Altered mood states are linked with hormonal birth control.

00:50 IUD’s, other than copper, contain progestins and some have estrogens.

02:00 Elevated depression and stress scores, elevated CRP, and plasma cortisol, are found from hormonal birth control.

04:00 Exaggerated basal neuroendocrine and inflammatory profiles are found with hormonal contraceptive users.

04:20 Hormone users had double the amount of cortisol compared to non-users.

04:40 Synthetic progestins and estrogens are not the same as biologically identical progesterone and estradiol.

07:20 Depression increases your risk from dying from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular disease.

07:45 Neurotransmitter GABA is sensitive to changes in progesterone.

10:50 Neuroactive steroid hormones and the HPAG axis are altered with synthetic hormonal contraceptives.

13:10 History of psychiatric illness increases likelihood of poor mental health while using hormonal contraception.

14:30 Explore birth control alternatives.


Studies Mentioned:


1.Skovlund, C. W., Mørch, L. S., Kessing, L. V. & Lidegaard, Ø. Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression. Jama Psychiat73, 1154 (2016).


2.Lewis, C. A. et al. Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives on Mood: A Focus on Emotion Recognition and Reactivity, Reward Processing, and Stress Response. Curr Psychiat Rep 21, 115 (2019).


3.Elsayed, M. et al. The potential association between psychiatric symptoms and the use of levonorgestrel intrauterine devices (LNG-IUDs): A systematic review. World J Biological Psychiatry 1–19 (2022) doi:10.1080/15622975.2022.2145354.


4.Raeder, F. et al. Do oral contraceptives modulate the effects of stress induction on one-session exposure efficacy and generalization in women? Psychopharmacology 240, 1075–1089 (2023).


5.Lacasse, J. M., Ismail, N. & Tronson, N. C. Editorial overview: Hormonal contraceptives and the brain: A call for translational research. Front Neuroendocrin 69, 101063 (2023).


6.Martell, S., Marini, C., Kondas, C. A. & Deutch, A. B. Psychological side effects of hormonal contraception: a disconnect between patients and providers. Contracept Reproductive Medicine 8, 9 (2023).


7.Zettermark, S. et al. Population heterogeneity in associations between hormonal contraception and antidepressant use in Sweden: a prospective cohort study applying intersectional multilevel analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy (MAIHDA). Bmj Open 11, e049553 (2021).

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