Botox for Depression

Guest : Norman Rosenthal, MD
From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Botox is used to help erase the lines and wrinkles that accompany age. But its benefits can extend far beyond cosmetics.
Air Date: 4/23/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Botox for Depression
Botox is used cosmetically to help erase the lines and wrinkles that accompany age.

What you may not know, is that Botox is also used for reasons far beyond "looking good."

In fact, the treatment may also help you "feel good" and even fight depression.

How does it work in this way?

You have to go back to Charles Darwin and William James, the great American psychologists. Both men purported that facial expressions actually influence how you feel.

If you frown, you become more inclined to be sad. Alternately, if you smile, you're more inclined to be happy.

This concept is often referred to as the "facial feedback hypothesis."

Naturally Savvy guest, Dr. Norman Rosenthal, and his colleague, Dr. Eric Finzi, performed research on this concept. In their study, they injected Botox to "paralyze" the frown muscles in order to see if the effect would be as they hypothesized. In 74 patients, Botox beat a placebo.

Of course, this sounds all well and good. But what about the safety of Botox?

Botox is derived from "botulism toxin," which is known to be an extremely toxic poison if ingested orally. However, Botox itself is injected very locally and doesn't enter the bloodstream. If done correctly, it is a very safe treatment.

What considerations come along with getting Botox treatments, especially in regards to addressing depression?

As always, too much of anything isn't a good thing. Emotions have a valuable function. Determining the right "amount" of treatment is as much an art as it is a science.

Dr. Rosenthal joins Andrea and Lisa to explain his research on Botox and depression, as well as share the benefits of treatments.

You can also reference the study on Dr. Rosenthal's blog page at www.NormanRosenthal.com.