A new study has revealed a new, unconventional way to treat clinical depression — Botox injections.
According to a July 11 Today Show article, Maryland dermatologist Dr. Eric Finzi, who pioneered the use of Botox for treating depression, conducted formal research that revealed more than half of patients with moderate to severe depression reported a “substantial improvement” in their mood after receiving a Botox injection.
Finzi’s research supports the “facial feedback theory” first proposed by Charles Darwin and William James, which suggests that our facial expressions can influence our mood, according to Today.
And because Botox is a nerve inhibitor, an injection of it to one’s brow can prevent the brain from responding to facial expressions associated with sadness, anger and fear.
“Your emotions are actually created, in part, by your face,” Finzi said. “Botox is an inhibitor of nerve transmission, so the muscle can’t fire.”
“Botox injections can help patients feel younger and more self-confident,” says Dr. Janis P. Campbell, Dermatologist at Laser Rejuvenation Clinic & Spa of Calgary. “They are one of the most ideal cosmetic procedures – dramatic benefits, few side effects and adjustable to achieve desired results. Add this to the nerve inhibiting effects and you have a powerful tool.”
According to Today, two additional studies have reinforced Dr. Finzi’s findings — but using Botox to treat depression is not yet approved by the FDA, and most insurance companies don’t cover cosmetic procedures like Botox injections.
However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Botox could soon be used to treat patients with depression across the country.