Can Botox Shots Help Fight Depression?
Are you one of those that gets a little uneasy at the prospect of injecting Botox into a person’s face for the sake of beauty? That may seem weird, but Botox injections may one day also serve to help fight depression according to a new study reported by Dr. Tillmann H.C. Kruger and Dr. M. Axel Wollmer in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
The study showed that Botox injections contribute to a strong and sustainable alleviation of depression in psychiatric patients, supporting the idea that the facial musculature not only helps expressed mood states, but also plays a role in regulating moods, as explained in the facial feedback hypothesis.
The study used a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, which assigned 30 patients with major depression to receive adjuvant treatment in the form of botulinum toxin A or saline injections to the glabellar region of the face. There were equal botulinum administered participants and those who received the placebo.
All patients had previously shown an insufficient response to standard treatments for depression at the time of study enrollment.
After 6 weeks, the researchers found that patients who received Botox injections had dropped an average of 47.1 percent on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). This was compared to only 9.2% for placebo patients. The researchers also noted that the agitation item on the HAM-D was the must accurate indicator of the response to Botox, being 78% accurate.
The improvements were also noted on the Beck Depression Inventory as well as the Clinical Global Impression scale. Females showed a relatively greater response than males.
The investigators also claim their findings, originally published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, has been subsequently confirmed in two additional studies this year.