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Botox Helps with Depression!? A Study Says It’s True.

Posted: June 15, 2016 > botox > Face > In the news > interesting & new > Journal Time > Skin / Nonsurgical > Blog Home

shutterstock_98105513I had a patient who was in my office today who said she is due for her botox. I said, “Great. It’s good to do before the squinting and bright sun of summer.” And she said, “That’s not why I do it. I don’t care about my wrinkles. I do it for my depression.”


This was new for me to hear. I know botox helps with migraine headaches. I even have a friend who thought it helped her get dates. (We think it was because she looked more relaxed and approachable.) But a treatment for depression?

So I went to the best place to find where this rumor started. Yes. I went to Dr. Google. And in researching I found the original study.

It was a study presented at the American Psychiatry Association Annual scientific┬ámeeting in May 2014. (I don’t know how I missed this news for so long.) The study is out of Hannover Germany, and they found Botox to treat the facial muscles used to show emotion decreased symptoms of depression.


  • Injection was done in the glabella area (area between the eyebrows)
  • 30 patients were treated
  • They had high levels of chronic and treatment resistant depression
  • They were randomly assigned to get a single injection of botox or saline (water)
  • Six weeks later, they were evaluated.


  • the Botox group had a 47% reduction in depression symptoms vs. those in the placebo group who had a 9.2% reduction. (!)
  • The effect size was even larger at the end of the study.
  • They used multiple tools to measure the depression. They all agreed.
  • The findings have since been repeated in 2 other studies.

WOW. And why? They think it is due to the link between emotions and your facial muscle movements. Essentially a biofeedback, where the muscles send signals to the brain to reinforce emotions. My patient said she noticed the difference in how she feels immediately. “I just feel more relaxed. I took Paxil in the past and Botox helps me as much as it did.”

Just another thing to add to the wonderful list of what Botox does.

Please keep in mind: subjects covered in this blog and certain tips and advice are not substitutes for professional medical advice. This blog is for general informational purposes only. If you are considering plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, or cosmetic enhancement, you should always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and/or your general practitioner in-person for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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