Does Botox help against depression?

According to the WHO, there are approximately four million people in Germany who suffer from depression. However, the number of those who develop depression in the course of their lives is much higher, and the trend is ever upward. The illness often progresses in phases. It can last from weeks to years and recurs if not treated. This makes it all the more important to correct treatment for each individually.

It has been shown that psychotherapy combined with medication has so far shown the best results in healing and is an important method for many patients to be able to get the disease out of the way better. Through numerous studies and research, new ways are also constantly being found to help sufferers. New studies show that Botox can also help against depression. But how is this possible?

The Facial Feedback Theory

There is a simple trick that can be used to understand what happens to the body when certain muscle parts are tensed or relaxed are relaxed. For example, clamp a pencil between your teeth. This inevitably activates the muscles that we also tense when we smile. The brain is fooled by this simulated smile and the mood brightens.

The same effect works with Botox treatment, only in the opposite sense. Muscles on the forehead, which contract under stress or due to strained thinking, can leave deep furrows. They act tense and angryeven though you may not be.

Will Botox become Relaxation of the muscles injected into the specific areas, not only do the furrows smooth out, but the brain is virtually fooled into thinking that it has relaxed. This works in that emotional facial expressions provide sensory feedback from the mimic musculature and the skin to emotion-processing areas of the brain.

This phenomenon can be related to the facial feedback theory of William James and Charles Darwin. from the 19th century, which states that facial expressions not only express mood, but also regulate it. This finding could be a helpful and supportive measure for many patients to alleviate depression.

Studies show significant mood enhancements

The theory has been tested for accuracy in several studies. The studies addressed the question of whether Botox helps depressives to improve their mood. alleviate their symptoms or even cure them completely.. The first study began in 2012, testing whether an injection of botulinum toxin in the so-called Glabella region, the lower middle forehead, may influence depressive symptoms.

Thirty people who were already receiving treatment for their depression or who had not responded to current methods participated. One half of the patients received an injection of omabotulinum toxin A at five sites in the glabella region. The other half received a placebo consisting of a physiological saline solution at the same sites.

After only two weeks, the subjects who had been treated with Botox showed, a lower depressive symptomatology. After six weeks, 60 percent of those treated with Botox had halved the severity of their symptoms. In contrast, the mood of the study participants who had been administered the placebo medication improved only slightly.

Benefits and risks of treatment with Botox for depression

Treatment with Botox for depression may sound strange at first, but it offers a number of benefits for sufferers: The active ingredient is tried and tested and is considered to be very safe and well tolerated.

The effect of a single treatment lasts between three and six months. The treatment is also less expensive than antidepressants. relatively inexpensive and usually takes only about half an hour. Incidentally, unloved wrinkles are smoothed out and the skin texture is refined as a result.

Despite all this, it is not advisable to regard Botox as the miracle cure for depression. It can be used as a single component in the treatment serve, but do not eliminate the causes of depression. Talking therapies and medication can at best be supplemented by the use of Botox, but not replaced. Moreover, the method is not suitable for all patients suffering from depression: Patients suffering from dementia who are depressed at the same time, for example, are not advised to undergo Botox treatment, as relatives or doctors are heavily dependent on the authentic facial expressions of the patients.

Nevertheless: The finding that Botox can be used to stimulate certain regions in the brain to produce a psychological change may also be of interest for other mental illnesses. For physicians, the future means: Keep researching! – And for those affected: Be curious about which new developments can make life easier in the future.