Contraceptives for the mentally ill

Appropriate contraception for women with chronic psychiatric conditions requires careful thought

Appropriate contraception for women with chronic psychiatric conditions requires careful thought.

Women of reproductive age are represented across the spectrum of psychiatric disorders, and this may impact on their access to contraceptive methods and their ability to use these effectively.

Reflecting the societal incidence, the most frequent disorder is depression (12-15%), followed by anxiety disorders (5-10%).

This may be an underestimation of the actual incidence, since about 66% of pregnant women and 59% of non-pregnant women with clear symptoms of depression over the preceding 12 months went undiagnosed and untreated, according to a 2012 US survey.1

Risk factors for major depression
Recognised risk factors for major depression in non-pregnant women include being of older age, lower educational attainment, lack of partner, unemployment and

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