BOTOX® Cosmetic

Could BOTOX® Benefit Your Mental Health?

Botox patiant

Although thought of primarily as a treatment for wrinkles, BOTOX® has proven effective for a number of health conditions as well, including migraines and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Most recently, there’s been discussion about the connection between BOTOX® and mental health. Could the frown-freezing benefits of this cosmetic procedure actually help alleviate negative emotions?

The Science of Facial Expressions

Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to suggest that there was an inherent connection between psychological state and physical facial expression. This theory, known as facial feedback hypothesis, suggests that the expression-emotion connection goes both ways. That is, while people who are happy tend to smile, the act of smiling can help make an unhappy person feel happier.

Taking this theory one step further is what led to the research study that indicates that BOTOX® may be a potential treatment for depression. The neurotoxin temporarily freezes the muscles responsible for making certain facial expressions. When used as a wrinkle treatment, the wrinkles smooth away as the muscles below relax.

In a study of patients diagnosed with clinical depression, BOTOX® was injected into the facial muscles responsible for creating frown lines. By six weeks post-treatment, patients who received treatment reported an improvement of 52 percent, while those who were injected with a placebo showed only 15 percent improvement. Out of 33 patients, 17 saw an increase in depression symptoms by 50 percent or more.

Does this mean you should ask your therapist for BOTOX®? Well, not necessarily. But if you can improve your mental health while you eliminate your frown lines at the same time, that’s what we’d call a win-win situation.

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October 28, 2014
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