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Botox May Be The Answer To Depression That Everyone Has Been Waiting For

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Depression is becoming an epidemic in the United States. The CDC states that one in nine Americans suffer from a form of depression, and the number is steadily rising. While anyone can suffer from depression, women are 70% more likely than men are. There are many different treatments for depression including medication and counseling, but several studies suggest that there may be another treatment for depression that most people are unaware of—Botox. Several studies suggest that Botox treatments can significantly reduce symptoms of depression.

What is Botox?

Most people know that Botox can smooth their wrinkles, but what exactly is Botox? Botox is actually a bacterial toxin called botulin. Botulin is the same toxin in contaminated food that causes severe food poisoning. In large doses, botulin is life threatening, but in small doses, it can provide different medical benefits. Botulin temporarily paralyzes muscles and blocks nerves when injected into the body.

Facial feedback theory

Your brain tells your face what to do. When you're feeling different emotions, your brain tells your face how to express them. A dermatologist named Dr. Eric Finzi is the pioneer in using Botox to treat depression. He came up with a theory called the "facial feedback theory". His theory states that the expression on your face can help influence your mood.

You're basically beating your brain to the punch. Before your brain can tell your face every day that you are sad, your face is already frozen in a happier position, essentially, your brain says, "Oh never mind, you're happy." Does the facial feedback theory have any foundation to it yet? According to a few studies done since Dr. Finzi came up with his theory, it does.

Studies supporting Botox for depression

Dr. Finzi conducted the largest placebo controlled, double blind study ever done on Botox in April of 2014. The study included 74 people who suffer from some form of moderate to severe depression. He injected 37 people with Botox and the other 37 with a placebo. After a six-week period, the entire group of people who were injected with the Botox saw some improvement in their mood. The group saw an average of 47% improvement, which is a significant difference. The placebo group saw a 7% increase in mood.

Dr. Finzi inspired some other doctors with his finds. A psychiatry professor at the University of Texas, Dr. Michelle Magid, decided to do her own study with 30 depressed patients. The study was conducted in the same manor. It was also a double blind study where half were injected by a placebo. Dr. Magrid's study lasted 24 weeks. Every three weeks she evaluated the results of her participants. The group who received the Botox injections saw at least a 50% decrease in depression symptoms.

Future of Botox for depression

Controlled studies are a giant step toward FDA approved medical treatments. That being said, what is the future of Botox for depression? At this time, the Food and Drug Administration approves Botox for treatments such as:

  • Cosmetic appearance (reduce wrinkles)
  • Chronic underarm sweating
  • Migraines
  • Overactive bladder

Botox is yet to be approved for major depressive or other depressive disorders. However, several doctors stand behind the procedure and believe Botox will one day be a standard in treating depression. Many depression medications have side effects such as anxiety, sexual problems, insomnia, irritability, and other problems that many people have trouble living with. These side effects leave people unmediated and fighting depression.

Botox may one day cut depression in half without any of the side effects that pills cause. For those who have a medication that works for them, many may still have some symptoms of depression. A combination of their medication and Botox treatments may leave those suffering from depression completely depression-free. The studies don't lie, and cutting depression in half is a miracle that 1 in 9 Americans need. If you are a loved one suffers from depression, consider speaking to a dermatologist at Chevy Chase Dermatology about how Botox may be able to help.