When discussing treatment and management methods for depression, it’s not often that cosmetic treatments will come up in the conversation. Although it has been proven that cosmetic treatments can help people feel more confident and happier with their appearance, cosmetic procedures are rarely seen as beneficial medical practices.
Until Botox, that is.
An effective cosmetic treatment for fine lines and wrinkles, Botox has actually been put to a fairly wide range of medical tasks including treating migraines and temporomandibular joint disorder, as well as easing excessive sweating. Now, new evidence has suggested that it can also help to improve the mood of people suffering from long term depression.
Case Study: Sarah, age 47
Struggling with depression since the age of 21, Sarah was at her wit’s end when she received a postcard requesting participants for a new depression study at Georgetown University. Having been through hours of talk therapy and a wide variety of antidepressants, she jumped at the chance despite having few frown lines to treat. Within only two weeks of starting the program, she was amazed to experience something she had not felt in more than two decades: a sense of lightheartedness and peace.
As required from in these studies, only half of the participants were given the real thing. The other half were given a placebo in a double blind experiment to ensure that results were not skewed by the expectations of the patients or attending doctors.
After six weeks the results were impressive: over half of the participants treated with Botox experienced a notable improvement to their emotional state, while only 15% of those who received the placebo experienced similar results. On average, the successful group achieved a depression rating of almost 50% less than before the experiment.
How Does It Work?
Many studies have shown that smiling sends signals to the brain that reinforces good feelings.
The muscles of the face have “hot wires” directly to the brain and it is this direct connection to the cranial nerves that is responsible for the positive effects of Botox treatments on a patient’s mood.
Compelling evidence for this association can be seen in those suffering from Moebius syndrome, a condition which affects certain muscles of the face and prevents facial expressions such as smiling or frowning. Studies have demonstrated that the ability of these patients to feel emotions can be significantly impacted by their reduced ability to express them.
While depression is not a recognized ailment that Botox officially treats, it is worth exploring for those who have suffered from its symptoms with no success of curing them through other means. Contact the Fairview team today to see how we can help!
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