Beyond simply boosting beauty, Botox has a long list of other uses: Studies show it can even be used to alleviate depression.
Supporting the facial feedback hypothesis, the research shows that a person’s expression directly influences their mood. Simply looking happier, which can be achieved by using Botox to relax frowning muscles, can actually boost the patient’s mood. The brain can be tricked in a beneficial way as facial expressions send cues back to our brains to tell it how we feel.
Injecting Botox into frown muscles “appears to induce a significant and sustained antidepressant effect in patients with major depression,” according to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The trial considered 33 subjects with major depression. They were rated with the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale during screening, then at three and six weeks after their treatment with Botox.
Six weeks after a single Botox injection, 52 percent of the patients saw their depression score decrease at least 50 percent, compared with just 15 percent of those injected with the placebo. Among the Botox recipients, clinical remission was achieved by 27 percent of the group versus just 7 percent of the placebo group.
The research echoes an earlier German study that also observed the ability of Botox to relieve depression. In that trial, 30 patients — with both observable frowns and an insufficient response to standard treatments for depression — received either Botox injections or saline injections (placebo group). Six weeks later, investigators observed Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores drop for the Botox patients by an average of 47 percent, compared with 9 percent for placebo patients.
The researchers said their studies show Botox can be a supplement or alternative to anti-depressant medications and psychotherapy. They identified potential advantages of using Botox, including improved compliance, affordable price, few drug interactions and well-documented safety. The procedure is easy to fit into your life: It can take less than an hour, and patients are usually able to resume their normal activities immediately.