Facial paralysis can make it tough to smile, frown, and make other facial expressions. Without the ability to naturally produce facial expressions, people coping with facial paralysis may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues without even realizing it.
If you are struggling with facial paralysis, remember, you are not alone. Research indicates that approximately 225,000 people develop facial paralysis in the United States annually. Yet, facial paralysis and the mental health issues associated with it often go undiagnosed and untreated, despite the fact that many treatment options are available.
The ideal treatment for facial paralysis varies based on the patient, the severity of their symptoms, and other factors. Regardless of facial paralysis treatment, people may enjoy many mental health benefits after they address their facial paralysis symptoms, such as:
1. Fewer Socioemotional Issues
Facial paralysis hampers facial muscle movement, and it can make it virtually impossible for people to use facial expressions for nonverbal communication. Therefore, facial paralysis may lead people to shy away from social events and isolate themselves from family members and friends. Facial paralysis may also lead to depression, anxiety, and other socioemotional issues that affect a person’s quality of life, which is reflected in the results of an Oregon State University (OSU) study.
In the OSU study, researcher Kathleen Bogart investigated the socioemotional issues affecting patients dealing with acquired and congenital facial paralysis. Bogart surveyed acquired and congenital facial paralysis patients and discovered that both groups of patients may experience socioemotional issues associated with their respective conditions. Additionally, Bogart found that patients who developed facial paralysis later in life were more prone to socioemotional problems than patients who experienced facial paralysis at birth.
Treating facial paralysis won’t necessarily cure all of a patient’s socioemotional issues. But, facial paralysis treatment may help patients make facial expressions without interference. It may also help people overcome the stigma associated with facial paralysis that otherwise prevents them from living life to the fullest extent.
Since people can undergo a facial paralysis treatment to correct their medical condition, they will have no trouble making the facial expressions they want, any time they want. As a result, these people can use their facial expressions to communicate and engage with others and live their best life.
2. Less Bullying
Bullying is a major problem associated with facial paralysis, particularly among kids coping with this medical condition. A child dealing with facial paralysis may struggle to fit in with their peers, due to the fact that their facial appearance is “different” from others. The child may also be subject to bullying on account of their facial paralysis symptoms.
Children who are bullied due to their facial paralysis are increasingly prone to isolation. They may struggle to make friends and lose interest in trying to connect with their peers. The result: bullying can severely damage the mental health of a child with facial paralysis.
Thanks to facial paralysis treatment, children can safely and effectively treat their facial paralysis symptoms. Children with facial paralysis can also gain expert insights into their medical condition and educate their family members and friends about it.
3. Enhanced Self-Confidence
Facial paralysis can affect people’s ability to blink, speak, and chew. As such, people coping with facial paralysis may feel self-conscious about their facial appearance and lose confidence in themselves.
A facial paralysis treatment can provide an immediate confidence boost, particularly for facial paralysis patients who are self-conscious about their medical condition. Non-surgical or surgical facial paralysis treatments help patients correct facial weakness, drooping, and other symptoms. Meanwhile, these treatments can also help facial paralysis patients feel good about their facial appearance, leading to enhanced self-confidence.
When people are confident in themselves, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Following a facial paralysis treatment, people may be more likely to spend time with family members and friends and enjoy other activities that they previously avoided due to their medical condition. They may also be more prone to laugh, grin, and make other facial expressions, so they can confidently communicate with others.
4. Revitalized Facial Appearance
Treating facial paralysis may provide a valuable opportunity to correct an unbalanced facial appearance, too. Facial paralysis patients may experience facial weakness to one or both sides of the face, which can cause facial asymmetry. Fortunately, with facial paralysis treatment, patients can rejuvenate the facial appearance and ensure that the cheeks, chin, eyes, and other facial features complement one another.
A symmetrical facial appearance may help people pursue and achieve their personal goals, too. For example, a facial paralysis patient may feel unsure about pursuing romantic relationships due to their facial appearance. Once the patient undergoes facial paralysis treatment, their facial appearance may improve, and the patient can regain the confidence to meet with friends, go out on dates, and enjoy other social activities.
Comparatively, a revitalized facial appearance may help a facial paralysis patient accelerate their career growth. Research indicates that physical appearance can impact people’s job prospects, but facial paralysis patients who treat their condition are well-equipped to improve their facial appearance. These patients may also put themselves in position to explore new professional opportunities and accomplish their career aspirations.
The Bottom Line on the Mental Health Benefits of Treating Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis may linger, and the longer it persists, the greater the impact it may have on a person’s mental health. However, if you or someone you know is coping with facial paralysis, non-surgical and surgical treatments can be used to correct your facial paralysis symptoms.
Undergoing facial paralysis treatment may seem daunting, but a doctor can take the guesswork out of diagnosing and treating facial paralysis. Once a doctor evaluates their patient, a custom treatment plan can be developed to alleviate facial paralysis symptoms. Then, the doctor and patient can work together to address facial paralysis and prevent it from recurring.
The bottom line: don’t wait to pursue facial paralysis treatment. Because, if you explore facial paralysis treatment options, you may simultaneously address your facial paralysis symptoms and improve your mental health.