Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note, where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week I want to talk about an interesting topic, and that’s Botox.
Botox is something we’ve been injecting for many years now for various reasons.
It’s not just a treatment for wrinkles in your face. It’s also used for:
- Migraine Headaches
- Excess sweating (hyperhidrosis) in the armpits and other extremities
- Muscle Spasticity
The point here is that there are many different uses for Botox for various reasons. It even works for bladder spasms for incontinence.
Botox and Depression
There’s a brand new use that’s very interesting to me, and that’s the use of Botox for depression.
And it’s not only the “look good, feel good” from Botox. For clinical reasons, it helps with depression.
To understand how this works, you really need to understand how Botox works. What Botox does is it kills the area between the nerve and the muscle. When you inject Botox, you are temporarily (4 months on average) making that muscle flaccid. That’s how it improves wrinkles in the face, and also why you need to know anatomy when you inject.
Botox is one of the safest drugs ever studied. It was discovered by a Canadian Ophthalmologist trying to cook up a remedy for a patient who had facial tics. She knew botulism toxins killed nerves, and that’s why it helped this patient. The Ophthalmologist also noticed that it took wrinkles out.
There’s other “off label” things we do with Botox for cosmetic purposes.
Side Note: One thing I want to clear up is there have been reports that COVID-19 vaccines may flare up fillers. I’ve had a bunch of people in the office ask me about this. This does not apply to Botox. You’re safe with Botox. There have been some rare reactions between the COVID-19 vaccines and fillers like Juvederm and Voluma. It probably applies to the other types of fillers as well like Radiesse. What might be happening is that the vaccine is possibly sensing that there is something foreign in your face. It’s rare and can be easily treated. So to be safe, you might want to consider waiting at least 20 days after getting the vaccine before getting filler. So if you’re planning on getting the vaccine, plan to delay filler treatment for the face.
Back to Botox and depression.
The healing of depression really piqued my interest because we see so much of it. The thing about this is that there is a strong muscle mind connection. This isn’t just observational. There’s been multiple studies that have found this to be true.
We have used Ketamine for depression before, and it certainly works. I’ve seen Ketamine amazing things.
It turns out that Botox is the number 2 most often studied neurotransmitter type substance in the treatment of depression.
For Botox, it’s not just because of the cosmetic effect.
Your muscles relax, and the brain is connected to the muscles. When your muscles relax, your brain senses that and it also becomes more relaxed. Sometimes depression is lifted because of this.
Think about this the next time you get Botox, especially in the winter. See if your depression isn’t lifted a little bit.
Depression is a chronic illness and it’s very hard to treat. You can’t be a Family Doctor and not see people who are depressed, which can lead to real medical and physical problems.
I’ll definitely keep my ears to the ground on this new finding regarding the use of Botox for depression. Stay tuned.