Army veteran Vivian Cooke has struggled with depression for years and found alternative therapies and medication to be ineffective, causing negative side effects such as headaches or stomachache.

She decided to participate in the study testing Botox to treat depression. Cooke claims her results were almost immediate. “Overall my mood was better on a day-to-day basis,” and, “I had less problems with depression,” she said. She continues to receive Botox injections even after the study is over.

Doctors say the reasoning behind the treatment for depression may not be what you expect.

“Facial expressions are part of the circuit of the brain related to mood,” said researcher Dr. Eric Finzi.

“Fear, anger and sadness — all go through this muscle,” he said, pointing to the area between the eyebrows where frown lines appear. “Botox basically inhibits the muscle and calms it down, so it becomes more difficult to feel those negative emotions.”

The final phase of testing Botox as a treatment for depression was announced recently. Previous studies have shown between 50 to 60 percent of patients may benefit from the treatment. Researchers are also studying whether Botox can treat social anxiety and bipolar disorder.

“Our hope is eventually it will form a place as one of the tools to treat depression,” said Finzi.

Botox is FDA approved for cosmetic use to help prevent and reverse the aging process in the development of deeper wrinkles and fine lines by blocking nerve signals to the muscles in the injection site. It produces a variety of wrinkle-reducing effects, depending on the patient, the area treated, and the product used. A prescription drug, it is also approved for medical use to treat conditions including chronic migraines, incontinence, excessive underarm perspiration and some types of neck pain and eye issues. 

Typically, injections take about 15 minutes to administer and costs vary between $150 to $400 per area based on product brand injected.


“Botox tested to help treat depression and social anxiety”, CBS News. Retrieved 13 June, 2020 <>.