Botox CAN Help the Blues
Several studies suggest that the inability to frown caused by Botox makes people happier. Psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales showed that healthy people who had cosmetic Botox injections were happier and less anxious than those who hadn’t (Lewis & Bowler, 2009). In an experiment by German researchers, healthy people were asked to make an angry face while their brains were being scanned by a functional MRI. Those who received Botox injections had much less activation in areas of the brain that process emotions than those who had no injections (Hennenlotter, Dresel, Castrop, Ceballos-Baumann, Wohlschlager, & Haslinger, 2009). It is theorized that those that cannot make an active angry face feel less angry. A feedback loop is disrupted and thus the intensity of emotion is disrupted.
Another U.S. study at the University of Wisconsin found that by blocking the body’s natural movement an effect is made on emotion (Havas, Glenberg, Gutowski, Lucarelli, & Davidson, 2010). Researcher David Havas stated, “There is a long-standing idea in psychology called the facial feedback hypothesis. Essentially, it says, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. It’s an old song, but it’s right. Actually, this study suggests the opposite. When you’re not frowning, the world seems less angry and less sad,” (Alleyne, 2010).
In the book, “The Face of Emotion,” written by dermatologist Dr. Eric Finzi, stories are reported of Botox effecting emotion. Dr. Finzi actually prescribes Botox for patients to treat depression. He believes that facial expression is the driving force of our emotions. Sad thought causes frowning and frowning increases sad thought. By decreasing the scowl, patients reported less depression. In one study quoted in his book, depressed patients showed a 47% reduction in depression scales as compared to a 9% reduction in those that received a placebo. As an added bonus even non-depressed patients saw a bump in their self-esteem after Botox treatment. Dr. Finzi and his colleague Norman Rosenthal's research will be published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research (Friedman, 2014).
Alleyne, R. (2010). Botox makes you happier because it stops you from frowning. The Telegraph. Retrieved fromhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7900557/Botox-makes-you-happier-because-it-stops-you-frowning.html
Friedman, R. A. (2014). Don't worry, get Botox. The New York Times, SR9. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/1gQoi8c
Havas, D. A., Glenberg, A. M., Gutowski, K. A., Lucarelli, M. J., & Davidson, R. J. (2010). Cosmetic use of botulinum toxin-a affects processing of emotional language. Psychol Sci, 21(7): 895-900. doi:10.1177/0956797610374742.
Hennenlotter, A., Dresel, C., Castrop, F., Ceballos-Baumann, A. O., Wohlschlager, A. M., & Haslinger, B. (2009). The link between facial feedback and neural activity within the central circuitries of emotion – new insights from Botulinum toxin-induced denervation of frown muscles. Cereb Cortex, 19(3): 357-542. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhn104
Lewis, M. B. & Bowler, P. J. (2009). Botulinum toxin cosmetic therapy correlates with a more positive mood. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 8(1), 24-26. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00419.x