Botox & Depression: Does It Help?

 

We hear it all of the time, after getting Botox injections, people tell us that they feel better than they did before.  But what if there was more to feeling better than just looking in the mirror and not seeing wrinkles? Research has demonstrated that Botox injections may be an effective treatment against depression. 

 

Depression is a common disorder worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 3.8% of the population is affected. There are many treatments available for those who suffer with depression, however, many of the medications available have undesirable side effects. 

 

A 2006 trial was the first documented research examining people with major depressive disorder being treated with Botox. Of the ten participants in this trial, 9 had complete resolution of their depressive symptoms and the tenth had improvement of symptoms.  Additional subsequent studies found similar results, including one 2017 study, which found that there was a 47% improvement in depression versus a 9% improvement with placebo.

 

Initially it was thought that by looking better on the outside by eliminating wrinkles, the patient would feel better. But that wouldn’t explain why people without wrinkles still suffer with depression. In 2020, a study found a reduction in depressive symptoms when not just injected in the forehead and between the eyes. More recently, it has been proposed that there may be a facial expression feedback at play. While the exact mechanism is unknown, these are a few of the theories as to why Botox is such an effective treatment against depression.

 

Although the evidence is impressive, more research is needed before Botox becomes a mainstream treatment for mood disorders. Until then, we will continue to help people look and feel their best!

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