Ok... so having lots of lines and wrinkles can be upsetting. As a matter of fact, some people would even say it's depressing! Well, believe it or not, they actually may contribute to clinical depression. If that's the case, then since Botox helps some lines and wrinkles, can Botox help depression? Let's see!
So when it comes to our emotional state or well being, who's in charge here? Your brain or your body? Traditionally, we think of the brain being in charge so when it's sad or depressed, we make unpleasant expressions that mirror our emotional state. But a recent medical study suggests we have that all backwards and that in fact, your expressions can exert a powerful influence on your mood.
The researchers treated 74 patients who had major depression by injecting their frowning muscles with either Botox or placebo. Six weeks later, 52% of the people who received Botox had significant improvement in their depression, compared to only 15% in the placebo group. Other recent studies have demonstrated similar results on the effect of Botox on mood.
The concept that your body is in charge and not your brain is completely contrary to conventional psychological causality in which it's the brain, not the body that determines your emotional state.
These studies emphasize one of the most difficult traditional issues in the treatment of depression. Usually the depressed patient blames their lack of interest and participation in normal activities on their depression. But extrapolating from these studies suggests that the depression may be caused by the failure to engage in normal social activities and that only after reconnecting with people and activities will or can the depression get better.
So where does that leave us with Botox? If in fact its utility in treating depression is demonstrated on a larger scale, can you imagine the new ads you'll hear about Botox improving the mental health of the world! And, these studies may explain why so many of my Botox patients leave the office so happy and with a huge smile on their face!