Doctors are exploring Botox as the next frontier of depression and possibly social anxiety treatment, CBS News reports.
There are a variety of methods that can help manage depression and anxiety treatment. Certain lifestyle habits, meditation, medication, and therapy are all methods people us to keep depression and anxiety symptoms at bay.
There are also studies looking at seemingly unconventional treatment methods such as marijuana and ecstasy to treat mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Botox is joining the ranks.
According to Dr. Eric Finzi of Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center, researchers do not believe they are seeing positive results because of vanity.
Instead, Finzi cites the relationship between facial expressions and mood.
“Fear, anger, and sadness – all go through this muscle,” Finzi explained to CBS News while gesturing to the point between his eyebrows. “So Botox basically inhibits the muscle and calms it down, so it becomes more difficult to feel those negative emotions.”
According to the creators of Botox, the drug will soon enter the final stages of testing to determine if it is a viable depression treatment method.
“Our hope is eventually it will form a place as one of the tools to treat depression,” Finzi said.
Currently, Botox is FDA-approved to treat chronic migraines, bladder incontinence, excessive underarm perspiration, and some neck pains and eye issues. It is most commonly associated for its cosmetic use to reduce frown lines.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals to muscles, but it only works for about three months. Once the effects wear off, patients often need to return for another round of treatment, depending on their condition and doctor’s orders.
The average cost of a Botox treatment in 2016 was $376.
In addition to studying the effects of Botox on depression, researchers are also exploring if it can treat social anxiety and bipolar disorder.