Before intensive researches, the public viewed Botulinum Toxin as an exclusively cosmetic application. Its success in temporarily improving the appearance of crow’s feet lines and frown lines has made it one of the safest and most effective anti-ageing cosmetic procedures.
Over the years, experts have discovered more uses for this chemical, such as treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and even migraine. One recent discovery is its remarkable ability to relieve symptoms of depression.
At a glance, the connection between Botulinum Toxin and depressions seems clear. A person living with clinical depression suddenly experiencing the positive effects of Botulinum Toxin has good reason to feel “less depressed”.
The actual reason behind it is a little more complex.
Interruption of the Muscle-Brain-Muscle Cycle
In 2014, a group of American investigators conducted a study to see the effects of Botulinum Toxin on moods. They discovered that treating the facial muscles involved in emotion with Botulinum Toxin relieves depression symptoms.
According to Professor Tillman Kruger, one of the researchers, people express emotions using facial muscles. These muscles send feedback signals to the brain to reinforce these emotions. If a person feels sad, the muscles react by contorting to its “sad” state. This “sad” facial state is read by the brain, stressing the feeling.
The effect of Botulinum Toxin, which is to control facial muscles, interferes with this cycle, preventing the reinforcement of depression.
A Novel and Therapeutic Tool against Depression
Prior to the study, the investigators saw a consistent improvement of mood in patients who have had Botulinum Toxin treatment for the frown lines above the nose and between the eyebrows. To confirm this, Kruger and his colleagues tested the effectivity of Botulinum Toxin to ease depression.
The research involved 30 patients with chronic and treatment-resistant depression, and used two treatments, a single Botulinum Toxin injection and a single injection of saline placebo. The investigators assigned one treatment to random patients.
Six weeks into the treatment, the group that received Botulinum Toxin injections showed a 47.1% reduction in depression symptoms, while the placebo group saw only a 9.2% reduction. Researchers found similar results using other methods to measure the symptoms. They concluded that Botulinum Toxin may offer a novel, effective and therapeutic tool to treat major depression.
The BTC offers clinical workshops for GDC-registered dentists, GMC-registered doctors, surgeons and specialists and NMC-registered nurses. Become a licensed and certified Botulinum Toxin practitioner and book your workshop with us today.
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