Can Botox treat symptoms of depression?

depressioncroppedYou’ve probably heard that if you’re in a bad mood, faking a smile can make you feel happier.  If this works, is it also true that frowning less will make you will feel less depressed?

The facial expressions that you make send signals to your brain about how you are feeling and your emotional state. Because Botox can be used to weaken “frown muscles”, making you frown less, researchers have been studying if Botox can help to alleviate symptoms of depression.

A large study conducted at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom tested the effects of Botox on a group of participants who had long-term chronic depression which was not responding to the typical treatment of antidepressants.

The research subjects received a single Botox injection in the two facial muscle groups that create a frown: the Corrugator Supercilli (the muscles near the top of the nose that pull the eyebrows down), and the Procerus muscles (the muscles that create the “11 lines” between the eyebrows).

Six weeks after their Botox treatment, the test subjects reported a 47.1% decrease in symptoms of depression while the placebo group (who only received a saline injection), experienced only a 9.2% decrease in symptoms.

These findings have been replicated in other studies, and Allergan, the creator of Botox, is currently undertaking extensive research in order to receive FDA approval for the use of Botox in the treatment of depression.

If you have persistent feelings of sadness and you don’t know why, it is always best to talk to a health care professional who specializes in depression.

But if you’ve tried everything, Botox looks like a promising new treatment that may give people struggling with depression a new lease on life.

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