A single injection of cosmetic botulinum toxin, normally used to reduce wrinkles, may be an effective treatment for depression.

Scientists at the Hannover Medical School in Germany found that treating the facial muscles involved in emotion with Botox, reduced the amount of depressive symptoms.

Prof. Tillmann Kruger stated, “Our emotions are expressed by facial muscles, which in turn send feedback signals to the brain to reinforce those emotions. Treating facial muscles with botulinum toxin interrupts this cycle,”

Positive effects on mood have been observed in patients who have had wrinkle reducing injection treatment for frown lines. Various previous cases have said that that depression reduced after such treatment.

This was thouroghly tested. Dr. Kruger and M. Axel Wollmer, MD, from the Asklepios Clinic North Ochsenzoll in Hamburg, Germany, conducted a randomised and double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Botox as a treatment for major depression amongst 30 patients who had chronic depression

Six weeks after, those treated with wrinkle reducing injections had an an average 47.1% reduction in symptoms, in comparison with 9.2% in the group treated by the placebo.

“This study shows that a single treatment of the glabellar region with botulinum toxin may shortly accomplish a strong and sustained alleviation of depression in patients who did not improve sufficiently on previous medication. It supports the concept that the facial musculature not only expresses but also regulates mood states”

Dr. Kruger said Botox may offer a “novel, effective, well-accepted, and economic therapeutic tool for the treatment of major depression.”

These findings have since been replicated in 2 studies.

  • Michelle Magid, MD, and colleagues
  • Eric Finzi, MD, PhD, and colleagues

Commenting on the study, Jeffrey Borenstein, MD, president and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in New York City and chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Communications, said that pursuing new treatments for depression is “crucial.”

This is clearly a treatment for technical depression. However, being unhappy about ones looks could build up and eventually lead to depression like symptoms. Wrinkle reducing injection treatment is a quick and relatively cost effective way of reducing wrinkles and improving your appearance.

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