30 to 50 percent of individuals in the US meet diagnostic criteria for clinical depressive disorder. Little is understood about the health condition but it effects one in four people at some point in their lives.
However, new studies are providing individuals that combat this condition with a glimmer of hope. Some individuals are testing the waters with a new treatment alternative: Botox.
Botox is a prescription drug that is injected within the muscles in an effort to block nerve signals. The drug is commonly used cosmetically to temporarily improve frown lines between the eyes and crows feet. Botox also has medical uses which include treating bladder incontinence, severe sweating, headache and muscle stiffness.
The wrinkle fighter is now being clinically tested in trials in an effort to combat depression. If proven effective, Botox could come up against commonly used depression drugs such as Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac. Researchers believe that Botox could have an effect on brain chemicals imbalances that contribute to the condition with the manipulation of facial muscle contractions. Researcher Dr. Eric Finzi of Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center states that Fear, anger and sadness all are exhibited within the area between the eyebrows. These facial expressions are a huge factor that influence our mood. “Botox inhibits the muscle and calms it down so that it becomes difficult to feel negative emotions”, states Finzi.
The formulators of Botox have recently announced that it is in the final phase of testing the cosmetic drug in the treatment of depression. It is estimated that 50 to 60 percent of patients could benefit from the treatment plan.
Kruger and colleague M. Axel Wollmer, MD, from the Asklepios Clinic North Ochsenzoll in Hamburg, Germany did research on Botox with 30 patients with high levels of chronic and treatment-resistant depression. Six weeks after the treatment the Botox group had an average of 47.1% of reduction in depression symptoms vs. 9.2% in the placebo group.
Given these findings individuals may find relief with this new treatment plan.