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Botox Fights Depression And Makes You Feel Happier


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

Psychologists suggest that Botox anti-wrinkle treatment is not just an elixir of youth, but it also can make people feel less depressed and more happy.

The experts believe that the effect of the Botulinum Toxin A - or Botox - by paralyzing the facial muscles that cause frowning, prevents individuals from physically expressing negative emotions and, actually makes them feel much happier. Previous studies have shown that facial expressions not only reflect, but also affect mood levels, and according to the new research Botox may improve people's moods by literally wiping the frowns off from their faces. Therefore, the scientists from Cardiff University, who conducted this small- scale study, hope that their findings could be helpful in discovering the new treatments for depression.

To come up with this conclusion, Dr Michael Lewis, a psychology professor and a senior lecturer at the university's school of psychology, involved 25 cosmetic-surgery patients, to take part in the study, which was carried out with Court House Clinics, London. Twelve of these patients received injections of Botulinum Toxin A or similar neurotoxins, to the forehead, and other 13 received fillers, peels or other cosmetic treatments for wrinkles. Two weeks after the treatment course, all the participants were asked to complete a Hospital Anxiety and Depression test - a self-screening questionnaire for depression and anxiety. They also had to rate the success of their treatments.

The results revealed that the participants who had received Botox injections were significantly less depressed, anxious and irritable compared to the volunteers in the other group. Dr. Lewis said that there was some form of cosmetic treatment used in the participants from both groups, but there was no significant difference in how much these procedures made them feel attractive or elevated their mood. Therefore, in his opinion, the result is more likely to be attributed to the effects of Botox specifically.

Dr. Lewis explained that unlike other treatment methods that are used to cope with depression, and very often lead to significant negative side effects, the main side effect of a Botox-based treatment would be a smooth, wrinkle-free, younger-looking face. However, he warns that people should be aware of the fact that the cosmetic effect of Botox is temporary, and after a certain period of time, wears off. Therefore, some patients may experience strong emotional stress, and have their boosted mood return to its normal state.

Professor Harryono Judodihardjo, medical director of the Cellite Clinic in Cardiff, said that scientists have always known that Botox is very effective and beneficial for patients, as they are always coming back for another course of treatment. Even in spite of the current state of economic recession, people still go to get their Botox injections done, saying that they would rather cut back and save on shopping than deprive themselves from having Botox.

This study suggests that there is probably much more for people in having Botox treatment than just being effective and reasonably priced. And although the study is small and it is more suggestive rather than conclusive, its results appear to coincide with those of the other research concerning the use of Botox. In the previous study, 10 clinically depressed patients who were on medication, received Botox in their frowns. The treatment was found to eliminate depression symptoms in nine of them and to reduce symptoms in the 10th woman.

The study is published in the March issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

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