Women with depression 50 percent less likely to remember to use birth control as concerns raised over unwanted pregnancies among emotionally unstable
17:18 GMT, 31 October 2012
Women who have severe depression or suffer from high levels of anxiety and stress are less likely to use contraception consistently according to a new study.
A team of researchers from University of Michigan's Population Studies Center conducted a survey on 689 non-pregnant woman aged between 18 and 19.
Results showed that within a week, those who suffered debilitating mental health issues admitted to not having used birth control or condoms at all.
Worrying lapse: Women who have severe depression or suffer from high levels of anxiety and stress are less likely to use contraception consistently according to a new study (posed by model)
Lead researcher Kelli Stidham Hall who presented the findings at a meeting of the America Public Health Association, suggested that victims of depression or stress are often battling other obstacles like unemployment and decision-making challenges that can interfere with their awareness of birth control.
The study raises concern about the increase in unwanted pregnancies among those not psychologically equipped to deal with the responsibility and emotional rollercoaster of motherhood.
Ms Hall told Today.com: 'Perhaps an unintended pregnancy for these women could make things even worse.'
Solution: Women with depression trying to avoid pregnancy should consider contraception like the IUD, pictured, that does not require daily attention
She added that family planning providers should consider the mental health of their patients while counselling them on options.
The Michigan women who participated in the survey initially answered a series of questions about their mental health and then for a year detailed their weekly sexual experiences in a journal.
Candidates included how often they had sex and whether they used contraception or not.
Of the 689 surveyed, 25 percent suffered moderate to severe depression while 25 percent suffered moderate to severe stress.
For women with depression, the odds of using contraception consistently each week was 47 percent lower than for women with less severe symptoms.
For those with stress, the odds of using contraception consistently were 69 percent lower.
Overall, women used contraception consistently 72 percent of the time.
In the light of the findings, Ms Hall suggested that women with depression or anxiety who are trying to avoid pregnancy should be considered as perfect candidates for more long term contraceptive solutions such as the IUDs that do not require daily attention.