Your Health Unlocked Episodes

024: The Birth Control Pill Caused My Depression- Josie’s Story

Publication Date: July 27, 2023

By: NWHN Staff

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Introduced in May 1950, the oral contraceptive pill is a medical innovation that has dramatically transformed generations. Over 10 million women across the U.S. take some form of oral contraception today, aka the pill, to prevent pregnancy.

The Network’s co-founder, Barbara Seaman, was one of the first to expose the serious health dangers posed by the first iteration of the birth control pill. Her book “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” was credited with inspiring a generation of women to take control of their reproductive health care and helped to bring about Senate hearings in 1970, led by Gaylord Nelson, on the safety of oral contraceptives. As a result of the hearings, birth control pills were required to come with a warning label and patient information sheet that disclosed the health risks associated with taking them.

Despite this, many women today are still not adequately informed of the possible risks, benefits, and effectiveness of their chosen form of birth control and can suffer side effects needlessly for years on end.

In today’s episode of the Your Health Unlocked Podcast, we’re speaking with one of these women, Josie Morgan, who struggled with birth control-induced depression for over seven years before finally receiving the help she needed.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How birth control impacted Josie’s mental health
  • Why Josie suffered from side effects for seven years before making a change
  • The aftermath for Josie of coming off the birth control pill
  • What to do if you suspect your mood is affected by your birth control 
  • What Josie would like to see change in the policy and health practice around birth control prescription

More about Josie Morgan:

Josie Morgan lives in Pensacola, Florida, with her husband and their pet Siberian cat, Mosey. She works remotely as a Program Specialist for the Library of Congress, where she helps to support the agency’s internship programs. Josie Morgan struggled with birth control induced depression for over seven years before finally receiving the help she needed.

Resources for Episode 024:

Some Terms and Linked Definitions: 

References Mentioned:

Read Planned Parenthood’s history of the birth control pill, which includes how activism from The Network’s co-founder Barbara Seaman prompted the Nelson pill hearings.

Read The Network’s overview of Barbara Seaman’s work to advocate for female healthcare rights during the twentieth century in the United States.

In 1995, Seaman’s book “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill,” which raises questions about the safety and reliability of birth control pills, was reissued in a 25th-anniversary edition.

Since first becoming available, birth control or contraceptive pills have gone through four generations, with each generation of combination pill using different types of progestin. Find out more here.

Watch psychologist Dr. Sarah E. Hill’s TED Talk on the surprising link between women’s brains and the birth control pill.

Psychologist Dr Sarah E. Hill’s book “This Is Your Brain on Birth Control” sheds light on how hormonal birth control affects women-and the world around them-in ways we are just now beginning to understand.

Discover more about the Facebook group that helped Josie in her journey, “Support for going off hormonal birth control,” where women talk about their experiences of coming off birth control.

Read more about the large-scale study conducted by Danish researchers at the University of Copenhagen: “Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression.”

Learn about the difference between withdrawal bleeding from birth control and natural menstrual bleeding here.

The primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and entertain. All views expressed by the persons featured on the Your Health Unlocked podcast are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the NWHN or its affiliates. Information provided in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Consult your own provider for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.

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