According to multiple studies, botulinum toxin or Botox for short is effective at helping those with chronic depression. Drs. Finzi and Rosenthal helped solidify the evidence that Botox can be effective for the improvement of depression through their randomized trial in which 74 patients with chronic depression received either Botox or Placebo injections using saline. Subjects experienced better than 50% reduction in depression symptoms after receiving an injections of Botox in the corrugator and procerus muscles (the facial muscles between the eyebrows).

The study used the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) to measure the amount of depression in those tested. After just six weeks the group that received Botox experienced a response rate of 52% decrease in depression as measured by MADRS score, while those who received the saline placebo only decreased 15%. The study also found that 27% of subjects had complete remission after the use of Botox, compared with 7% who received placebo. Finzi and Rosenthal’s study confirms the 2012 findings reported by German researchers, Kroger and Wollmer.

Doctors believe the reason Botox has been so effective at decreasing depression is due to the fact that human emotion is connected to our facial expressions. Our brains receive feedback after our facial muscles react to our emotion making the emotions like sadness more intense. By treating the facial muscles with Botox, the feedback signal from the facial muscles to the brain is blocked. Therefore, by simply having Botox injected into your face your depression could subside.

To date the use of Botox to treat depression is not FDA approved. However, as more studies and patients confirm the effectiveness of this treatment, Botox may become an alternative to taking a pill every day.