Headlines are screaming that the pill has been linked to depression in women after a 13-year study confirmed what many pill-takers already suspected. The University of Copenhagen study found that women taking hormonal contraceptives in combined pill form were 23% more likely to also be prescribed antidepressants by their physician. In women who used the progestin-only pills (a synthetic hormone) the likelihood of the depression link rose to 34%.
But the study, which tracked more than a million Danish women, also found depression linked to other types of birth control including pill alternatives in the LARC (long acting reversible contraceptive) category like hormonal IUS/coil, vaginal rings, and patches. (These LARC methods were linked to even higher incidences of depression.) The study does not claim that the pill causes depression, but only cites the link. The incidence of depression among contraceptive users was much higher among teens and “the relative risks generally decreased with increasing age.” It’s notable that Denmark, where the study took place, has consistently been named the world’s happiest country by the World Happiness Report.