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Is the Pill Linked to Depression?

If you're using birth control, be aware that you may be at higher risk for developing depression. A large-scale study recently published in JAMA Psychiatry found that over a million contraceptive-using women under 34 years of age were significantly more likely to be prescribed antidepressants or given a first-time diagnosis of depression (23-30%). Adolescent girls were at highest risk: a startling 80 percent were more likely to have depression, even when using implants, patches or intrauterine devices.

According to TCM, birth control works by suppressing the Liver energetic's function to less than 60%. Because decreased Liver function is also associated with higher risk of emotional imbalance, any woman on the pill is at higher risk of developing depression.

Most women have personally experienced that one's mood can be affected by hormonal changes, so if you are introducing an artificial hormonal system into your body, it makes sense that you may be at higher risk for emotional repercussions. If you have a history of depression in your family or are under chronic high stress (which also deregulates Liver function), you may want to consider alternative forms of contraception.

Not ready to give up the advantages of birth control? Herbs, Qigong, acupuncture, and dietary/stress management can go a long way towards stabilizing your moods by keeping the rest of your organs and body in balance.

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