Botox blocks feelings
Feedback is a really important thing. Without a little fashion feedback from those who care about you itâ€™s possible you might still be wearing that pair of toreador pants you bought while on holiday in Spain. Without feedback how would road crew set up their sound stage before a Stones concert? Your body, and mind, also rely on a continuous round of feedback. What a new study has shown though is that botox can disrupt that feedback system when it comes to your emotions.
In the study psychologists followed people who had received botox treatment for facial lines. Botox, of course, is Botulinum toxin, a nerve poison that paralyses muscles causing wrinkles caused by the muscles to disappear while the botox is still present and working. All of the people in the study were given questionnaires to establish their mood and levels of depression.
The results showed that people who had received treatment for â€œcrowâ€™s feetâ€, the lines at the corners of your eyes, had significantly higher levels of depression than those who had only received treatment for frown lines (the lines on the forehead and between the eyes made when you frown).
What is happening here is that the feedback loop between your body and your mind is being disrupted by the paralysing effects of the botox. You smile when your mind tells you that you are happy and the action of your muscles in smiling tells your brain that you are in fact happy and so the cycle perpetuates itself. Previous research has shown that if someone forces her or himself to smile, regardless of what they are feeling, they will then feel happier. Paralysing the muscles at the side of the eyes that cause crowâ€™s feet but also are recruited in a genuine smile breaks the feedback chain of positive emotion. The result, according to this study, is that you are more likely to feel depressed.
If you want to then, you can have a botox treatment but donâ€™t do it thinking that the only effect will be to make you look like you are either perpetually bored or have mild indigestion. You cannot change the function of a part without impacting the whole and when you paralyse the muscles that are causing wrinkles you also knock out part of the feedback circuitry that runs your emotions. It cuts both ways of course because reducing frown lines can make you feel less angry. The real question is whether you want to feel what you are feeling or not? In the end too, it all points to a simple prescription for happiness…just smile.