Research at the Chevy Chase Cosmetic Centre in Maryland suggests that physical expressions of emotion influence our feelings and therefore smoothing out frown lines using Botox can actually improve the mood of people with clinical depression.
The Centre’s medical director, Dr Eric Finzi, claims that his latest research shows that forcing a frown can cause a depressed mood, while deliberately smiling can, at least temporarily, increase happiness.
The research indicated that cosmetic treatment can dramatically improve the symptoms of severe depression in more than a quarter of patients.
It is the second of Dr Finzi’s studies which has come to this conclusion.
He first proposed the the theory that by preventing frowning, the toxin is interrupting signals to the brain that indicate the body is under stress or cannot cope.
In his latest studies he worked with 84 people with severe depression that lasted for an average of two years and which had not fully responded to treatment with anti-depressants. They all received either Botox treatment to smooth out frown lines or a placebo injection into the same facial region.
They were then assessed three and six weeks later. By the end of the experiment 27 per cent of those receiving Botox treatment reported complete remission of their depression, compared to just seven per cent of those who received the placebo.
Dr Finzi concluded that the trial showed that inhibition of frowning could lead to remission in depression.