Teenage girls on the pill are more likely to develop depression as adults
The new study is the first of its kind
New research has found that teenage girls who take the contraceptive pill are more likely to develop depression in adulthood.
This Canadian study is the first of its kind, looking into the link between using oral contraceptives during teenage years and the likelihood of developing depression.
Compared to women who start taking the pill in adulthood or have never taken it, teenagers are 1.7 to three times more likely to face problems in later life. Women are already twice as likely as men to develop depression at some point in their lives, and women who take the combined contraceptive pill are already 23 per cent more likely to develop depression, a study has found.
Doctor Christine Anderl, the first author of the study, said the pill could have irreversible effects: “Our findings suggest that the use of oral contraceptives during adolescence may have an enduring effect on a woman’s risk for depression – even years after she stops using them.”
This is partially due to the fact that adolescence is an important stage for brain development.
Researchers surveyed over 1,200 women in the USA, taking into account other factors like how long they had been taking the pill and the age they lost their virginity. Although the study does not prove taking the pill causes depression, it does show that there is a link between the two.
Associate Professor of psychology at UBC, Dr Frances Chen, added: “Millions of women worldwide use oral contraceptives, and they are particularly popular among teenagers.
“While we strongly believe that providing women of all ages with access to effective methods of birth control is and should continue to be a major global health priority, we hope that our findings will promote more research on this topic, as well as more informed dialogue and decision-making about the prescription of hormonal birth control to adolescents.”