Botox has long been thought of as a cure-all for cosmetic procedures, bringing new life to worn and wrinkled faces. But a recent study may prove that Botox is not only the preferred treatment method for cosmetic surgery, but for depression as well.
The study is based on the theory that physical expressions of emotion can alter our experience of feelings. For example, if someone were to force a frown, their mood and outlook would be negatively impacted. Expressing an emotion physically has been shown to bring out feelings, with happiness coming from smiles and sadness stemming from frowns. This theory proves the adage of “look good, feel good,” meaning that those who see themselves as happier, will experience more positive feelings.
Charles Darwin first studied emotions in humans and animals, describing muscles in the face used to frown as “grief muscles.” Darwin found that these muscles were connected to feelings of sadness, observing a negative change in emotions when a person or animal used the muscles in their face for frowning.
The 84-person study was split into two groups of patients suffering from severe depression. Half of the participants were given Botox, while the other half of the study were supplied with a placebo injection. After six weeks, 27% of the participants who received the Botox treatment reported nearly no signs of depression. This is significant, especially compared to the 7% success rate of the placebo injection on those suffering from depression.
Treating mental illness has been a difficult process, with people reacting differently to various treatment methods. A single widespread cure for depression has not yet been found, which is what makes the results of this study exciting. With more than one quarter of the participants injected with Botox reacting positively, the mental illness industry should be on alert.
For now, Botox remains solely a product for cosmetic procedures, but that could change if more research shows facial injections as a widespread cure for depression. Little research has been done to fully support the theory of physical emotions affecting feelings, but the work that has been done so far seems promising.