Fifteen years ago this week, the FDA approved Botox for cosmetic uses. Since then, it’s been approved to treat migraines and excessive sweating, and now it’s being tested as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
Army veteran Vivian Cooke has long struggled with debilitating depression. She tried alternative therapies and medication to cope with her symptoms, but none worked.
Then, three years ago, Vivian enrolled in a study testing Botox to treat depression. She noticed an improvement in her depression almost immediately.
Researcher Dr. Eric Finzi says facial expressions are part of the circuit of the brain related to mood.
“Fear anger and sadness, all go through this muscle, so Botox basically inhibits the muscle and calms it down. So, it becomes more difficult to feel those negative emotions,” he explained.
The makers of Botox just announced the final phase of testing for depression will begin.
Dr. Finzi says previous studies show between 50 to 60 percent of patients benefit from the treatment. Researchers are also also studying whether Botox can treat social anxiety and bipolar disorder.