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birth control pill causing anxiety/ depression??

I was just wondering if anyone has been on birth control pills and have suffered from anxiety or depression issues? I have been on the pill for 11yrs now and cant take how I am feeling anymore. I went on the pill for irregular periods, but since then I have been feeling blah, libido has decreased severely, I have sinus problems- I found out I have no allergies- so I think it is related to axiety, I worry constantly about everything; I get so nervous I get light headed sometimes. I thinkk I am going to try and stop the pills. I was just wondering if anyone had similar side effects from birth control pills. Thank you!
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Avatar universal
I HAVE RECOVERED! And I want to share my story because I went searching for answers all over the internet when these problems were happening to me, and not many people had comments about being better. I'm sure many of them just moved on with their lives as I almost did. But I came back to these forums to post so that whoever is hurting might know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep hope alive. I did not have much hope at that time, but now I am absolutely fine :)

It all began when I went on birth control as suggested by my gyno because my periods were not happening every month like clockwork and this concerned her. But after awhile, I started getting bad headaches, so I quit them cold turkey after 3 months. Well, I was fine for awhile until a few weeks passed. Then my world changed forever.

One day I randomly started feeling extreme anxiety, a problem I have never experienced in my life. I could not eat or sleep no matter how long it had been since I had eaten and no matter how tired I knew I was. My body went haywire and it scared me to death. I was terrified, questioned my faith and my salvation, and did not want to be alone in case I died (irrational thoughts).

I went to a psychologist, tried herbs, everything... My regular doctor and gyno wanted me to either get on a drug for anxiety/depression, or get back on birth control. But my mom reasoned that I was fine before birth control and learned from researching online that birth control was probably the cause of these problems in the first place. We decided to stay away from more drugs and wait it out.

My episode of terror lasted a week the first time and I lost 13 pounds. I did not want to do anything, even get in the shower or change. I felt frozen in place, paralyzed by fear, but was still miserable sitting still. I seriously felt like I was going crazy. My heart seemed heavy and sometimes a muscle in my neck hurt too. Any little symptom scared me because I was in an irrational state. I thought I might just drop dead or pass out. Well, instead I dropped out of my last semester of college and moved home.

I thought maybe I was out of the woods when my week-long episode ended, but exactly a month after the first week-long episode, I had another one, this time at home. I was also having some sort of light bleeding every 2 weeks, which was abnormal for me. The feelings of anxiety and fear returned and I went another week without eating or sleeping much at all. Now I really began to worry that I was ruined for life. The world looked so scary and I did not want to live because I was scared of what I would have to deal with - I felt incapable of handling it. I did not want to die either because I was scared of that too. I hated birth control and was mad that I could not talk myself out of these crazy/racing thoughts going on in my mind. I prayed and prayed and felt sort of abandoned to be honest. Why couldn't I feel like my old self? Would this condition last for years? And why couldn't I handle this better?

I was really tempted to go on Paxil or birth control that time, but decided I would wait it out one more time. It felt like hell during these episodes but as long as I ate when I could, laid down at night, and just kept breathing in and out nothing serious was really happening even though I believed it was. I did dry heave a couple times but that was from panicky thoughts and was the least of my worries. Anyway, I was still having weird bleeding every couple of weeks and my acne was really bad, so I knew it was indeed hormone related and most likely the birth control that started all this.

SUMMARY: I quit birth control July 16, 2012 and had the 2 week-long episodes of extreme anxiety/depression. However after that I only had a couple more episodes! This time 3 days long and not as severe. November 10, 2012 was the last time I felt that abnormal/irrational anxiety feeling. Today it is January 7, 2013 and I feel completely fine. The weird, light bleeding is no longer 2 weeks apart. Instead I have relatively normal periods like I used to be before all this happened that are a month or more apart.

I feel like the same person I was before experiencing this except I have some questions about my faith. It humbled me for sure. But I am searching for answers, and I know God is faithful. This terrible ordeal will only make me stronger in the future. I believe it is getting better and better with time and that all this was caused by synthetic hormones which caused an imbalance in my body. This seriously altered the messages my brain was receiving. Hormones are more important than I knew before.

I suggest not going on drugs unless you have to and to wait it out. Doctors can help, sure, but also be your own advocate. Search online and consult the ones who care about you the most. If you do not have a history of anything like this, it is probably not really your mind but your body that is sick. But I am not a health professional. Just don't be too hard on yourself like I was. You are not the only one who has gone through this. Surround yourself with patient people who love you during your anxiety or other symptomatic episodes and if you don't have those people, pray to God and just breathe. Time will go a long way to heal you because it did for me. Hang in there and eat when you can, sleep when you can. Don't worry about the rest.

I am so sorry if any of you are going through this. I hope it ends soon. But if you are, know that it is most likely temporary. Don't try to fight it and question everything about your universe - just keep breathing. A better day is ahead.
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Avatar universal
It's been so helpful reading these answers, it's made me feel like I am not alone with the way I'm feeling. But opposite to most of you feeling depressed whilst taking the pill, how have you felt after stopping it? It's been 10 days since I took my last pill, it was the end of the packet so I saw no harm in stopping there. The reason I stopped was because my sex drive was plummeting and I thought another method would be easier. I had my period as normal, maybe 2/3 days after I stopped taking the pill. In the last maybe 6 days I have not stopped shaking. I'm having extreme anxiety about death. These panic attacks have been the worst thing I've ever experienced. I'm only 17 and had only taken the pill for 3 months but now I feel like I'm going insane. My mum thinks that it's the imbalance of hormones and I really hope it is because I can't cope with these thoughts. Everything I see or do I get these feelings. When will it stop? Has anyone had this same reaction? I haven't been able to eat either, I'm suffering with extreme stomach pains, diarrhea and headaches but most importantly it's my mind that's going insane. I just want my normal self back. I felt so happy a week ago and now I don't know what's happening. It's extremely hard to put up with especially with living with my boyfriend even though he's the only thing keeping me sane. Planning on seeing a GP in the next few days. Please let me know if you've ever felt this same way!
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Oh my God. This is exactly what I am going through... My side effects/symptoms started almost exactly a month after I started taking the pill. I started getting dizzy and then diarrhea and nausea came the next day, by the third day I couldn't eat at all and I was barely getting enough water in me. I went to the hospital and all of my tests came back perfect. They told me it was probably just a stomach virus. So I waited and waited and the symptoms barely stopped. Still extremely dizzy but the nausea went away. I now have this weird feeling in my stomach like nothing digests and I feel really gassy but it never subsides. For the past week I've been suffering extreme anxiety and panic attacks -- My mom keeps trying to reassure me that it's only my birth control because the tests came back so good. -- I think something is severely wrong with me and that if I don't go to the doctors I'm going to die.. It's honestly the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life.. I've never felt depressed or anxious like this. I've always been a really happy and bubbly person and now all I do is worry. It's absolutely horrifying and I hope my doctor tells me that it's only the birth control and that I should get off of it.
Hello. Not sure if you'll still see this but I felt the exact same way. Everything you said was on point. I'm wondering how you are feeling now?
Hi there, currently feeling these exact symptoms that you are 6 weeks after coming off the pill! Was wondering if these symptoms have been relieved and do you feel better? Any response would be appreciated
Avatar universal
I had the exact same experience!!!!

WHERE IS THE MALE BIRTH CONTROL???? WHY IS IT ONLY FEMALES WHO HAVE TO SUFFER THROUGH THIS, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY LEFT ON OUR SHOULDERS ALONE?
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Avatar universal
Thank you so much to everyone who has posted on here, it means so much to me to know I'm not alone and I'm not loosing my mind! I'm 30 and have been on the pill since the age of 16. I was first prescribed microgynon for about a year but had terrible headaches and break through bleeding so my Dr switched me to Loestrin 30; which I've taken for the last 13 years. Over the years I've become depressed and an obsessive, anxious worrier. I have no energy and my brain feels like it's hazy and I can't concentrate. Granted, I experienced some quite traumatic life events in my early-mid 20s, so I had always put how I was feeling down to this. However, over last few years things have been going really well in my life and I have everything to live for and be happy about, but I just haven't been able to shake the depression and constant feeling of dread and fear that something terrible will happen. I had never connected how I felt with the pill until my sister told me told a few weeks ago that she'd gone onto a new pill but had to change it as it turned her into an emotional wreck. Suddenly it dawned on me that the pill might effect mood, so I checked the side effects listed in my packet and sure enough depression was listed, so I googled anxiety and the pill and was amazed to find all your comments. I've discussed them with my incredibly supportive boyfriend of 10 years and we've agreed I'm not going to start my next course of pills at the end of this week. I'm really excited to see how I feel sans pill. I've been on it so long I can't really remember life before it! Maybe it's the cause of my problems, maybe it exaggerates them, or maybe it's not related at all, but whatever the case my boyfriend and I think it's worth a try, I'll keep you posted about how I get on! Thank you again for opening my eyes to the possibility!
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Avatar universal
OMG! Thank you everyone who has posted on this forum. I am only 20 years old and I have been on the pill for about 9 months now. I have horrible anxiety. I have never felt this before, so I know my birth control is causing this! I go to the gyno in a couple weeks and I hope that she can figure something out. I do want to get pregnant again for quite a few years, so I definitely need some form of birth control. I hope that I can find something that will not cause me to have severe anxiety. I have the most horrid panic attacks. I worry constantly, and I can never have any fun because of my anxiety. I cannot even go to the movies because I start to freak! This is getting way out of hand!
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Avatar universal
I too had anxiety issues on birth control pills.  I was nauseated constantly and development anorexia.  I lost 20 lbs on birth control pills and was nervous and sick on a daily basis.   I went off birth control 5 years ago and have been fine since then.  Good riddens to birth control pills.....I now have an IUD and have gained my weight back.  I had no clue what was wrong with me at the time, but looking back I had a HUGE problem.  Good luck to all of you.  My advice is get out while you still can.  I caused alot of bodily harm while on birth control.  My bones suffered from not enough calcium, my muscles deteriorated, and my teeth were a mess.  These are all things that can't be reversed.

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Avatar universal
This discussion is so interesting.  Probably the thing that we can take away from it is that hormones do play an important role in anxiety.  

I have had the complete opposite reaction from the rest of the community.  I had been on the pill for years (for irregular menstruation) and then went off of it - thought it had been long enough.  About a month after quitting the pill, I started having panic attacks (but didn't yet correlate it with the pill).  I started taking the pill again a couple of months later, then went off of it again - the panic attacks came on full force about a month later.  It was horrible!  I got to a point where I could not function.  Searching for an answer, I put the pieces together regarding the timing of the onset and going off of the pill.  I decided to start taking the pill again to see what happened...  I think that I now may always have to struggle with panic attacks to some extent.  Once you've had such a horrible experience, can you ever go back to being normal?  But, since I've been back on the pill, I don't have any problem with going about day-to-day life (the attacks are much less debilitating and come with much less frequency - and this dramatic change occurred within the first month of taking the pill again).

I think that the issue of hormones is probably not talked about as much as it should be with relation to panic attacks and how to go about treating this disorder.

Best wishes to you all!
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Avatar universal
I was on the pill for four months and I became more anxious as well.  By the fourth month I had one evening where my thoughts began to race really fast and I felt out of control.  I had never had anxiety like that before.  I also became nervous about my boyfriend all the time and worried he may be unfaithful, which before I started the pill and after I stopped it, was not an issue.  I also got depressed in a more intense way on the placebo pills.  I really think its a shame that more is not done to study the effects of the pill on mood.  my roommate is also admittedly more edgy since she has been on the pill but is afraid to stop for fear of not having a better option.  she has also gained a lot of weight.  the pill is no miracle, and i think our society is naive to think processed hormones do not affect how we feel.  
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Avatar universal
hi my name is lila and for the past three months i have been trying to pray this anxiety away. I am 27 and a mother to a one and a half year old. after her birth i was put on the nuva ring and had to get off due to really bad migrains. After i got off i started to experiance panick attacks and anxiety and even got depressed. I have never felt this way before in my life until after i got off the ring. I've talked to my doctor they want to put me on lexapro, but i know what i have is hormonal. around my period is when i have the worst anxiety. I've started to speak with a counselor and she agrees it is hormonal and has advised me not to take the lexapro yet. We are going to use it as a last resort. Until i can't take it anymore. in the mean time i am trying to take walks to get moving, eating right, and taking vitamins. i also drink an ensure to help me gain some weight back. i lost 15 lbs! This is what i am doing to try and get better. I would love to hear what other people out there are doing to get over the anxiety and what they have been taking. Has anyone gotten over this with time?? How long does it take to feel normal again?? I would appreciate any feed back and support. Here is my email address for anyone wanting to become support buddies ***@****
Thank you
~~lila~~
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Avatar universal
i guess it won't let me post my email address. You can click on my user name and send you to an area to send me a private message.
~lila~
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453190 tn?1205787255
I was on the Pill for half of my 20s and into my 30s and, during those years, had terrible anxiety.  I recently had a child, had to go back on the Pill, not realizing the Pill was causing bad anxiety (practically anxiety attacks)--and was back in full force (pretty much at its all-time worst).  

I wish I had known all those years I was on the Pill that it was causing the anxiety b/c I could have saved myself a lot of grief and discomfort.  

I still have to find a form of birth control and was recently told that the copper IUD doesn't have the same effect as the Pill, so I'm gonna give that a shot.  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi all, I  just email dr. oz from the oprah show. Will you send him an email telling your story about anxiety after birth control too? I think it's time we get some answers instead of just taking anti-depressants. If you want to send him an email go to OPRAH.com scroll down the page and on the left had side is a ask dr. oz box. Click it then go to the blue topic about anxiety and panick attacks. Click that and fill out your info. and tell him your story.
thanks.
Tell all you hormonally unbalanced friends to do the same.
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Avatar universal
good for you lila.....
damn these pills... they have ruined so so many women, most of which are now addicted to anti-depressants because a doctor told them this would help..
My therapist advised I take the Lexapro for 5 or 6 months and ween myself.... I think not... the side effects are worse than the actual anxiety symptoms.., and god forbid you try and stop taking the anti- depressants- they will surely send you over the edge with the anxiety sypmtoms... had I known all of this- I would have never ever taken a pill...
There are lots of women out there like us....some of them drowning in there own fear.......I pray for them, us and me....
more research and studies need to be done to link this stuff to hormones- than just the brain waves and brain chemical studies they do............
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Avatar universal
Wow, I thought I was really losing my mind!  Ever since I started ortho tri-cyclen lo I have been so moody (extreme rage then histerical crying for NO reason).  My Dr has me on it because I have extremely heavy periods and anemia (level hovering around a 5 or 6 for cbc).  I am also on Wellbuterin and I am wondering if I should stop both or just the bc???  Anyone else have this problem with the same two meds?  I think I am in grave danger of losing my friends because my anxiety is so extreem and I am raging so I act out on my anxieties...  Then there's the domino affect!  I am so scared...  I really love my friends, but they don't seem to REALLY understand...  Now I am going to cry.  What the heck!  
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Avatar universal
I've switched to the pill now but just started but after I had my son i wanted to try Depo-provera I got the shot until my son was six months old and I think it may have had something to do with my mood I started feeling really sad all the time and started getting chest pains and bad headaches I went to the er twice with chest pains and they did a ct scan and ekg and said everything was fine both times and they did a scan on my head to check for tumors and they said everything was fine with that too but I was obsessed and am still a little that I am gonna die from something that couldv'e been prevented even though the tests came back negative sorry to go on rambling when you have problems of your own but I was just curious if the depo affected me I support your decision to go off the pill I would love to myself but - sorry for the tmi- I HATE the feel of condoms
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Avatar universal
I was on birth control for a few years and then stopped due to financial issues. I didn't get my period for a year and a half.  I wasn't ok with that so I went back on it.  I do have anxiety issues, chest pain, insomnia, suicidal thoughts (but not attempted), and am known as a worrier.  My doctor dismissed me when I brought up the idea of hormones from my birth control.  He now wants to put me on antidepressants (Paxil).  I don't want to stop the pill because I want a normal cycle and don't want to get pregnant.  I'm not sure what to do next, but am starting to rethink the Paxil idea.
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467977 tn?1262714747
Hmmm, I am just curious if this has anything to do with the estrogen in the pills?  Talk to your doc (or several docs, diff opinions) and see if you can get a lower dosage that doesn't affect your hormones as much?  I hope this makes sense.
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466844 tn?1224605788
the pill does make you have mood swings.. depression, anger, kinda like pms bu alittle worse.
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Avatar universal
I had little spouts of anxiety before I went on the pill.  Once I got on the pill I was super anxious and had to be put on Zoloft.  I stopped taking the pill (a month ago) and am now (today) done with the Zoloft (after a painful weaning period).  I feel fine.  No anxiety that isn't warranted.  Try getting off the pill before you go on antidepressants.  If the pill isn't causing the anxiety than you know the condition far reaches pharmaceuticals.  Though I must say when I was on Zoloft it worked wonders just sucked to wean off it.
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Avatar universal
The pill makes your body think it's pregnant... I don't have experience being pregnant, but I do have experience on the pill... I think it is a price we pay for the benefits.  If you can afford not to be on it, probably better.  Personally, I have 2 week periods without and am not sure if I can get a handle on them without it.  
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Avatar universal
Have any of you heard of compounded natural hormones?  (Suzanne Sommers, the blonde star of Three is Company, an old TV show, wrote a book about these.)  Once your hormone levels are measured--in blood or urine--conbinations of different hormones are put together, in capsules, to your bodies specifications; you need to find a gyn or a Dr. open to these and willing to work with you.  These compounded hormones do not affect fertility, they are not for birth control purposes, but can certainly help with excessive, irregular bleeding, depression, menopause symptoms and other hormonal imbalances.   My heart goes out to all you having problems with the pill.  
I have a 20 year old, 4 months on the pill, experiencing constant anxiety and depression with anger and bouts of crying over small things.  I am helping her find alternatives.  It has been very helpful to read all postings here as I was not aware of such serious side effects and was not sure what was going on with her.  Depression and the pill are obviously not researched at all.  
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Avatar universal
I am a man but might be able to offer something in on this.

My girlfriend is on the pill. She started taking ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN and her personality changed to being a bit snappy and after 3 months I requested that she stop taking it. Her personality changed so much I was not happy around her. We changed to ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN LOW and she turned sweet again. It was weird too because the ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN made her gain 8 lbs more body weight and when she switched to low she lost 10 lbs body weight. We then changed to Tri-Nesta and she gained her 2 lbs back to normal body weight. Through all this her personality changed with her body weight. We ran out of pills and went back to some old pill packs and just like that her personality changed and weight changed. She was totally unaware of the personality change but as her boyfriend I noticed a big change. I don't think any of them had an affect on her weight but when she became more snappy on the ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN she tended to eat more junk. And when she changed to the lower hormone she became my sweet girlfriend again. Not sure if it is the pill but the hormone level in the dosage at least that I noticed with my girlfriend. She is actually the least snappy when she is on the low level hormone pills than she is off the pill too if that makes sense? Us men don't pick up on everything but we sure notice when our other becomes snappy. :) Hope this adds some info from a 3rd party.
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Avatar universal
Hello everyone, I am a 19 year old female, and let me tell you I have been through hell from birth control pills.  My doctor had put me on birth control pills since I was about 16 years old because I had a ovarian cyst.  I started out on Ortho-Tri Cyclen and that worked wonders for me and my cycle, but after 2 years I started to have break through bleeding.  Then about a couple months ago my doctor put me on Loestrin24Fe, and thats were the trouble began.   I noticed that I became very anxious, tired, and nervous.  That is when the panic attacks started.  However, at the time I did not know what I was experiencing.  Therefore, I went to the doctor and she took me off of the pills. I haven't been on any birth control pills for a month now and my anxiety and panic attacks have gotten worse.  Does anyone know why?  I believe it is because I have been on the pill for a decent amount of time that my body is not used to my normal hormones yet.  I NEED ANSWERS!! I am becoming extremely depressed because it is effecting my life greatly.  I am a very active person but ever since I came in touch with the feeling of anxiety I am a different person all together.
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Avatar universal
Its really comforting hearing that people out there are experiencing the same things I have been.. Im 28 and was on the pill for almost 10 years.. I started with Ortho tri cyclen at 18  and I was fine on it.  Then Planned Parenthood changed me to Ortho tri cyclen lo after 5 years which screwed me up wicked.. Had spotting every week when I transitioned from dose level to dose level... Terrible... They just told me to "give it time" finally I had to stop using it and went on Levlen which is a monophasic pill.. Loved it! No spotting or anything.. then... after 3 years.... I recently developed massive anxiety all of a sudden....  At the same time Planned parenthood switched me again to Microgestin... a lower dose hormone... BAD! (they like to swicth people every few years) The first month was fine... I actually felt better mentally and had no spotting.. but then I had a nasty period.. got really bloated.. now its month 2 and I have has like non-stop spotting and bloating.. I feel like a fat pig! But... I think that it has helped my anxiety attacks....  Mr drs all said there wasn't likely a link between my anxiety and the pill bcuz the hormone levels are so low (ie why we have to take them everyday) but I think there is.. They tested me for everything, found nothing, although I still feel depressed and like I am going to die sometimes with paranoia etc  (I was convinced I was going to have an aneurysm or I had a brain tumor) but they checked me into therapy and tried to put me on Paxil etc...  All I can say is that as we get older our bodies change.. especially in late 20s to the 30s. If you have anxiety etc etc HAVE YOUR THYROID TESTED!!!!!!! Your thyroid is responsible for many hormonal issues.... Although many women dont get tested until their 30-40s, thyroid issues are majorly under diagnosed in younger women... Now that I am closer to 30 I feel that 10 years on the pill is long enough... The IUD is the way to go I hear...  If anyone has advice on the IUD and anxiety I am curious...
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