Botox for Depression

BotoxBotox is not just an anti-wrinkle cure anymore, it is also said to be a happy serum. A recent book published by Dermatologist Dr. Eric Finzi suggests the anti-wrinkle serum can actually serve as a cure for depression.

Putting on a happy face is not just for aesthetics but you can actually put on a happy face first in order to feel happy. Botox by definition is a neurotoxin that is used to decrease the sight of wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles. Although a wrinkle eraser is the popular known use for Botox, it was recently attributed in the treatment of chronic migraine sufferers. The same paralyzing component used to shrink wrinkles proved to lessen the frequency of migraines for sufferers who have more than 14 a month. Now with this new study it seems Botox has another non-cosmetic use, the treatment of depression.

The book by Dr. Finzi titled, The Face of Emotion, Finzi states almost all of the wrinkle cures on the market can improve a person’s mood and relationship to others, giving credence to the saying, ‘when you look better you feel better’.  When Botox is used as a wrinkle serum it is injected into frown lines and other wrinkles on a person’s face temporarily paralyzing the muscles making it physically impossible to frown. The correlation between physical appearance and emotional feeling is not new. Back in the 1700’s Darwin suggested facial expressions are responsible for our emotions, thereby if someone is unable to frown or express sadness they are less likely to feel it.

Finzi and Psychiatry Professor at Georgetown University, Dr. Norman Rosenthal conducted a study on 74 severely depressed patients. Half of the patients received Botox and the other half a saline placebo. After six weeks 52 percent of the Botox patients reported relief from depression and only 15 percent of the patients who received the placebo reported relief. This discovery puts a spin on the widespread belief that our feelings project our expressions instead suggesting our expression dictate our feelings.

Smiling alone is not enough to cure depression because everyone would be doing it; it is the inability to frown that is important. The outside-in approach is not new to medical treatment of internal emotions. For years acupuncture has been used to treat stress and anxiety and now Botox can be used to improve a person’s emotional state. Sufferers of depression often think once I figure out what is making me sad I can address it and eventually smile. However, now therapist can work from the outside in and tell patients smile first, with the aid of Botox, and you will begin to feel better.

Doctors who have injected patients in the past for either wrinkles or migraines may have inadvertently cured some patients of depression as well. It is the inability to frown that is the cure so in essence your physical expression is sending the message to your brain that you must be happy because you cannot frown. Hollywood has always been full of happy celebrities now we know why, most of them cannot frown if they wanted to, and Botox cures depression.

Opinion By Debra Pittman


The New York Times

Psych Central

Medical News Today