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Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.
Essays and Blogs Concerning Mental and Emotional Health

Botox fights Depression?

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: May 27th 2006

Yesterday, while glancing at the television (Good Morning America) I saw that clever marketing people have now positioned botox (the injectable toxin that relaxes/paralyzes muscles in the face, resulting in fewer visible facial lines) as a new cure for depression. I haven't seen the actual press release that this information is based on yet, but I feel a need to chime in ASAP by saying that this announcement seems suspicious to me, but also reasonable at the same time. I'll explain:

I'm not shocked that there could be some relationship between facial paralysis and a lessening of emotionality. It has been known for years that there is a relationship between the amount of passion and intensity of emotion that someone can experience and paralysis. People who become paralyzed supposedly do experience a lessening of intensity of emotion. I've not experienced this myself, so can't claim it first hand, but I have read of this somewhere years ago. If I'm pressed to explain why this effect might occur, I'd invoke the idea of feedback. The word "motion" is not embedded inside the idea of emotion for nothing. Physical expression of the body and the face is a vital part of what it means to be emotional. When you are emotional, your body moves, and the feedback from this movement is communicated back to your brain, amplifying the experience of the emotion. If you are angry, you tend to wave your hands up and down and clench your fist. If you are sad, you tend to frown and cry and wring your hands. The more you make these emotion-linked movements, the more your experience of the particular emotion is solidified.

botox treatments reduce facial wrinkling by paralyzing the facial muscles. This would naturally reduce a person's capability of producing facial emotion behavior, and such a reduction of facial emotion might conceivably block any amplifying capacity that facial expressions might have, resulting in a deadening of the expressed emotion. "Might" is the key word here. I don't know this for fact - I'm making this explanation up based on the stuff I've read before.

There is a big distance between this sort of paralysis-mediated emotional blocking, and a reasonable depression treatment however. Depression, particularly when it is severe and chronic, is an intense and brutal illness which colors all aspects of life, and which can be lethal when left untreated (e.g., the risk of suicide is real). It is not at all clear that blocking the facial musculature messages going back to the brain will ever be a sufficient treatment for serious depression (although it might be a good adjunctive treatment, possibly, if this effect is replicated).

Even if botox facial injections were shown to be a good treatment for reducing depression symptoms, the best they can offer someone is to reduce the amount of depression someone might be experiencing. This is not the same thing as increasing the amount of joy they can experience. If botox fights depression, it probably also fights joy, I'm thinking. Both emotions produce characteristic facial expressions, and botox would block both from occurring, thus blocking any sort of emotional amplifying effect on emotional state that facial expressions might have. The overall effect would be something more akin to a sort of neutral emotional flatness than anything else. Not exactly a good effect to hold out to the majority of non-depressed people who use botox as a cosmetic enhancement procedure. I can just imagine the product labeling warning stickers: "Warning: botox suppresses intense emotions of any sort. Not safe to use before your daughter's wedding or other happy occasions".

There are other problems as well. Maybe the feedback explanation I've given above is wrong. Maybe people who use botox feel less depressed, show fewer depression symptoms after using botox because they were depressed about their appearance, and using the stuff reduced their wrinkles, making them feel better. Maybe the simple action of going for a cosmetic procedure made them feel more in control of their lives, and this helped them to feel less depressed. There is a whole lot of careful work that will have to occur to tease apart the real causes behind this odd anti-depression effect that botox seems to have before it will be reasonable to use it for an antidepressant purpose.

Nevertheless, if this effect is real - if it can be replicated that botox will dampen the intensity of depression, then this is a truly fascinating and useful finding; One of those serendipitous effects that you end up uncovering by mistake and it changes everything.

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Presently, he is an Oakland Psychologist (Lic#PSY25695) in private practice offering evidence-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and addressing a range of life problems. Contact Dr. Dombeck by calling 510-900-5123, send Dr. Dombeck email or visit Dr. Dombeck's practice website for more information.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

No side effects here - trisha - Jan 13th 2014

I'm sorry to hear about everyone's bad side effects. I have had several Botox and Dysport treatments and haven't suffered any of these things. In fact, I feel like my anxiety is significantly less while I have Botox. 

Googling "botox insomnia headaches" - - Apr 22nd 2012

I had 20 units placed in my frown lines which did not work.  When I went back to the Doc he was surprised, said it was probably a bad batch, and reinjected me.  That was four days ago.  I have had very little sleep since then, which is very unusual for me.  Unusual enough to make me google "botox insomnia headaches" and land here. 

My usual routine is up at 0445 to work out for an hour prior to my 12 hour shifts in an ER.  The past three were not easy ones.  No sleep, head pain, and acute nausea along with very odorous patients made for one hell of a week.  I am thinking that perhaps he was right about the first batch being bad since I slept just fine the two weeks following it.  Last night I took a Trazadone in hoping to sleep which only gave me nightmares for the couple of hours that I did sleep.  However, the headache and nausea are gone and I was able to run 6 miles today an am hoping that and my Sleepytime Tea will help me to sleep tonight...Also hoping that the 11's between my eyebrows are lessened soon... 

Horrible INSOMNIA from BOTOX! - - Nov 2nd 2011

I have had botox injections for several years a couple of times a year and never had any problems that I recall until my most recent treatment.  Since then (10/21/11) I have been unable to sleep and have been experiencing feelings of anxiety.  (Most recently I had a combination of Dysport in brow area and forhead and botox near my crows feet)

  I now think that I may have experienced these side effects to some lesser degree (insomnia & anxiety) before but didn't attribute it to the botox.   Currrently I'm not sleeping deeply if at all.  I'm tossing and turning for hours on end which is torture!  I did get a sleep aid from my MD but it barely helps.  I cant wait for this to ware off.   It is maddening.   Sleep deprivation is torture.  It is not worth my smooth forehead.



Botox is a drug - - Sep 12th 2011

Botox is FDA approved as a drug.

When a physician administers a drug follow up is required by the physician.  Why isn't follow up regarding contraindication from the drug botox follow up by physicians. Patients are sick from Botox. 

Botox Reaction - - Sep 11th 2011

It is unfortunite.  I have had botox for 3 years.  I have just realized these reactions are caused from botox.  I believe many are suffering from these reactions - and are not aware of it - I see women everyday getting botox - many have anxiety, depression, can't concentrate, overall loss of muscle mass,  (yes.  overall muscle atrophe) The confusion regarding health issues have led women to assume they are going through memopause, have mental issues, anxiety, insomnia... list goes on.

When physicians Dispense drugs follow up is important.  All physicians follow up with their patients when prescribing a drug.  Botox is approved as a DRUG - why is there not follow up?  Do not second guess yourself regarding these reactions.  I am at my 10th week.  I have documented everyday and without a doubt know it is the botox.  At 4 months I felt great---it was in the back of my mind that it could be the botox that caused previous symptoms. I Did it again and every symptom came back on the 7th day.  The day after I had the injection I was very sick, vomiting and diareah (at the same time) - and then that feeling in my head, anxiety, panic, not able to concentrate.  It was back!  I knew the next months would be hell physically and my realtionship would suffer.  I know at 4 months I will start feeling better.  Here are a few suggestions to help you get through it.  No alcohol, No caffine, xanax (exspecially in the begining - at 10 weeks I am not taking xanax anymore) exercise as much as possible.  My lungs and chest, where so tight and still are tight and very difficult to get a deep breathe.  It does get better.  Don't panic.  Know what it is and never do it again.  

Botox has changed me - Deanne - Mar 4th 2011

My experience with Botox is oddily similiar to these postings.  I have had injections twice. The first time was March 2010.  Several days after the injections I began having horrible anxiety and irrational thoughts.  I also could not sleep...I was completely miserable and had never experienced these feelings. This lasted for months and months.  Eight months later, Nov. 2010,  I had my second round of Botox.  The  side effects are back.  I didn't realize until now...that the Botox is causing this misery.  Its been four months, and I still have anxiety and an overall feeling that I'm stuck in mud.  I'm a runner and I eat healthy...yet I can't lift this fog I'm in.  I will never have these injections again.  I feel as if I was poisoned....and I paid for this...what a sucker.

Botox Nightmare - julie - Feb 15th 2011

Hello all.
I had 24 units of Botox on Oct 20th 2010, the next day I woke up with extreme anxiety and flu symptoms that lasted almost 3 weeks. I have what I come to find out as common side effects, that include anxiety,depression, strange phobias and fears, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy spells, muscle aches, odd head pain. I am at almost 4 months since the injection and not sure if I will ever get better. I would love to hear from anyone doing research that can give us all an answer as to why this happened and why no one in the medical community seams to know how to help up. Over the last 4 months I have found hundreds of women who are or have had the same reaction.
Please feel free to email me (

Horrible Botox Side Effects - Hate Botox - Feb 15th 2011

On August 31st, I had my last injections of Botox. Two or three days after, I was filled with adrenalin, panic, nausea, tremors, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, etc. For two and a half months no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I didn't suspect it was the Botox since I had gotten it many times before for migraines. One night when I was looking at my calendar, I realized that right before my "breakdown" I had gotten the Botox. I did a search for Botox and Anxiety and found 100's of postings from women who shared my symptoms! Up until that point I thought I was nuts; at that point I realized I wasn't--I was poisoned by Botox.

At month five I still suffer from daily anxiety, head pressure, brain fog, depression, insominia, muscle aches, etc. I have days when I feel better, but I am still not myself.  Anyone have any tips on how to get this junk out of our systems faster??

Sparrow - - Jan 8th 2011

I don't know much about this subject, just that I enquired about botox for my forehead and crows feet, a month ago or so and did some research based on the way it would make me look and any adverse effects.

I decided that it was unlikely that the effects would be too bad and that it wears off and so made the decision to give it a go.

So this morning I went and had it done. Now, be sceptical if you will but literally an hour after I had it done I felt happier as if my mood was lifted. I'm very much a frowner and now I can no longer frown I just dont feel the pressure in my head like I did before and I feel so much better for it. I am also quite an emotional person and now my head feels clearer I feel less on the brink of tears. I hope this feeling continues and I am sure many of you may think this is because I am happier with my new look but it really isn't that as I cant actually tell! But I will certainly continue to have it done if it makes me feel like this!

I am sure though that it is very different for different people and to say it can beat depression I am sure is based on it working perhaps for one or two rather than every case but still maybe worth a shot?!

Botox and insomnia? - - Nov 25th 2010

So interesting to read all of these articles relating to Botox and its side effects. I began suffering with debilitating insomnia in Feb 10 but didn't for 1 minute put it down to my botox treatments. I had had botox 6 months prior and 6 months prior to that. I saw every specialist, under the sun and they all said that my insomnia was down tyo anxiety and depression which i have never experienced. I fell into a downward spiral of insomnia, anti depressants, sleeping tablets and alcohol, and currently try so many different ways to get some sleep, incl not even spending my nights in our marital bed....just horrific. I'd be very interested in further info linking botox and insomnia.

Botox Anxiety and Depression - moomin - Sep 26th 2010

It took me 6 years of getting Botox to realize that every time within 12 hours, I experienced sudden and severe insomnia, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and a rapid slide into depression. I have always been very even keel, not terribly moody, and sleep like a champ, so the difference is drastic and obvious, and certainly not psychological. Suspecting the connection, I began to keep "mood charts" over the last 2 years, documenting what happened to me after having Botox. The link is absolute and very clear -- it's the Botox that is causing the problems.


If you search message boards, MANY other people have experienced exactly the same thing. Doctors and Clinicians deny such "side effects" are common, even real, and yet they are being widely reported all over the internet. The problem is, because we do not expect such a response to Botox, we do not directly connect the reaction.


It has quite devastated my life -- leading to a misdiagnosis from a Psychiatrist, and eventually taking 5 dangerous mind-altering medications to "treat" the misdiagnosis. Of course, my "mental illness" strangely went away every time the Botox wore off, but try explaining that to a Psychiatrist! Once I realized what was really going on, I weaned myself successfully off all medications working with a Naturopathic Doctor, and a Nutritional Psychiatrist (yes, they exist!) -- and of course I stopped having Botox.


I think it will be years before the true effects of Botox become apparent. I wonder if there is any link between the drastic increase in RXs for sleeping pills, anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants in the last 10 years -- and the advent of Botox during the same period. It's hard to know -- because these side effects are not disclosed by the manufacturer of Botox -- so Doctors don't know to expect or look for them. They automatically dismiss them as probably psychological, when clearly they are not. I think the key problem is people probably don't realize Botox is doing this to them, because a) they don't expect it, and b) they want to focus on the positive outcome of Botox.


Until more people speak up -- and file "adverse event" reports with the FDA as I did -- nothing will change. You can file an "adverse event" report here:


Botox causes depression - Lisa - May 27th 2010

I've been getting botox for nearly two years, and I'm starting to see a pattern:  Every time I get botox (forehead & around eyes), I plunge into depression, on the verge of tears all day.  It lasts for a week or two, and then I'm my normal self again.  I knew it wasn't PMS related, and so I decided to Google 'depression' and 'botox'.  Well!  Talk about conflicting information.  There seem to be just as many sites saying botox may CURE depression, as there are testimonies saying it causes it ... A marketing/PR exercise perhaps?  From my experience, I'd say some proper investigation should be done into it's connection to CAUSING depression.

Botox is horrible!!!!! - Yvette - May 7th 2010

I had Botox done to my upper face two days ago and I started having the most horrible side effects. I have a really bad headache that I developed as soon as the first injection was put in. I should have stopped but I continued because I thought it would go away. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I feel shaky and kind of weird inside. It think it is anxiety or a panick attack, which I did not have before the Botox.  My body feels weak all over, difficulty swallowing, very dry mouth and my eyes feel heavy. I am very sleepy all the time. I also had heart palpitations yesterday and I felt like I was going to die. I never had any of these problems before Botox. Botox is definitely causing all these side effects. They just wont admit it because they care more about the money than the people. I hope this wears off soon cause it is really interfering with my life in general.

Cardiac dysrythmia from botox - - Apr 5th 2010

I am a 36year old female, and I had 18 units of botox injected around my crows feet in January 2010. A few days later I began to notice a feeling of a skipped heart beat. It gradually got worse. I have been to the ER, the Mayo Clinic, and my PCP. I wore a holter monitor for 24 hours to identify the type of irregularity. The physician tells me that my cardiac rythym is "normal", and there is not connection with what I am feeling with the botox. I am very healthy, eat well, and exercise 3-6 times a week. This feeling was of a sudden and suscpicious onset, and the only thing that I was different when this started, was the botox. I was accused of being "stressed" and the doctor at the Mayo clinic recommended therapy. Very insulting. I am a highly productive and educated individual. I know my body better than anyone else, including a doctor, and I know when something is not right. It is slowing fading away now, coicidentally at the same time the botox is wearing off. I was so glad to see that someone else felt this sensation too, proving that I am not "crazy" and this is not "normal".

Noticable heart palpatations.. - Kristy - Mar 27th 2010

I went to a wine and botox party after work one night and I recieved the botox in my forehead and eye area. At 32 yrs old I never really considered the botox, but since it was free I decided what the heck. Immediately after the botox I have a definate arrythmia. Every few seconds I feel a pounding or fluttering sensation, and at times as if my heart skips a beat. From time to time before the botox I would have palpatations, but this is on a much greater magnitude, It's VERY SCARY! My mom is a nurse and has recieved botox several times and when I ask her she has never had any type of side effect and does'nt think that there is any corralation between the two. I am a healthy and very active person, I work out 4 to 5 days a week. You can not tell me botox is not responsible for these changes. It's been 2 days now, I hope this goes away soon before I convince myself I am having a heart attack!!!

Bo-somnia/Bo-mania - terry - Mar 22nd 2010

I'm going to do 2 units of Botox, I really hope I don't get the gnarly side effects again, u know the drill, anxiety, insomnia, no joy...I'm glad to read that ambien helped someone, having my doctor write me a script...ill keep u posted

No need to bother... - - Feb 18th 2010

I too have had botox, and experienced the headaches, tremors, irregular heartbeats and panic attacks. Everything started the evening that I received the injection, and the problems peaked around day 3. I have never experienced anything like this.  It is making an impact on my social and professional life.  (Always experiencing anxiety).  I am told that there is no way that the botulinum can travel to your brain or anywhere in your body, and that it is "localized".  If that is the case then why is there a small, but rare, chance that you could get botulism?  And if it doesn't affect the brain, or the nervous system, why is it being used to treat depression, migraines, etc.?  If you visit their website: and read the full product information, they DO say that common side effects are headache, while some will experience difficulty swallowing, breathing or speaking.  If you read further, it also states that it may have an effect on your cardiovascular system (irregular heartbeats) but only in people with a "pre-existing" heart issues.  Doesn't address tremors and panic attacks. I personally, am very healthy, and KNOW when something weird is going on with my body.  I think that it is more than a coincidence that these symptoms started immediately after the Botox.  After hearing how these symptoms are written off as psycological, or unknown by most physicians...why bother going? I think I'll save my $ and skip the hassle.  I KNOW what the problem is. When are the drug companies going to adress these issues?! They've made enough $$$ already, and at the cost of us...the guinea pigs.

BOTOX and ANXIETY??? - Kathleen - Jan 16th 2010

I had Botox about a year ago for frown lines (20 units) and experienced a severe panic attack within a couple of days of the treatment. I must admit I'm not sure if I had more than one attack but I never put two and two together that Botox is what may have caused me to have anxiety until I had Botox again. A year and 3 months went by and I decided to try Botox again 3 days ago. This time I got 25 units since the 20 units never did much for my "number 11" between my eyebrows. I went to a clinic near my work which is very reputable and had it done by a PA. She agreed 25 might be a better option this time around. So I went ahead and got the 25 units but what was weird is this time the treatment really HURT. I had no pain whatsoever when I had the Botox the first time. The PA said it may have hit a nerve. I had a headache and tenderness for a few hours and then got better later in the day. Within about 12 hours after the treatment  I had the most horrible debilitating scary panic attack I have ever had in my life. I was running around wringing my hands, telling my husband I needed to go to the ER and felt like I was going to pass out. My husband managed to calm me down and I finally fell asleep. The next day I experienced the panic attacks about every hour and a feeling of generalized anxiety throughout the entire day.THis is when I realized it could be the Botox because I had something similar happen when I had it the first time.  I called my regular MD and made an appt. This is not the person that administered the Botox. Doc said Botox is safe (he does it in his office as well) and he has never seen a side effect such as anxiety. I told him I feel like I am losing my mind and am scared it will spread into my body causing botulism. He acted like I was a total freak and gave me an RX for Xanax. The Xanax has helped but I am taking .5 mg about every 5 hours before I start freaking out again. I have never experienced this type of horrible paranoia in my life. I called Allergan and spoke with the safety dept to let them know my adverse reaction. They were VERY nice but explained anxiety is a very unusual side effect. Not sure they would admit it is common - Botox is a million dollar product. that I have found this board it appears I am not alone in the possibility that Botox can cause anxiety. I hope it doesn't get any worse once the Botox begins to work and  smooth lines in the face. I simply cannot take this for one more day. Please someone tell me this is going to get better! I will never ever ever have Botox again. All this in the name of vanity!

BOTOX- NEVER AGAIN - Theresa - Nov 8th 2009

I had Botox in June of this year and I have been a complete mess ever since. The next  day after the botox I experienced the most terrifying feeling that I had ever had. I felt a very strange sensation in my head, terrible fear and subsequently had a panic attack. I thought I was dying. I must add, that apart from the odd times in life where you get a bit down, I have never experienced anxiety or depression where I have needed medication. This has been ongoing for 4 1/2 months now and I am surviving on as little Valium as possible. I have epilepsy that has been well controlled for years and I take regular medication for this. I have always been an extremely capable and independant person with a family and a busy life. Now I feel completely out of control for a few days and then ok for a few days and the pattern continues. I do not feel depressed as such, just continuous fear, panic, insomnia, paranoia, irratibility and a strong feeling that I will never be my normal, happy, capable self again. The Doctors say that it is probably not the Botox. But I disagree. When I went to have this done I did mention about my epilepsy and they said there would be no problem. As long as I do what they say and keep my head upright for 4 hours, to prevent drooping eyelids, then there are no other side affects. The pshychiatrist seems to think that I am fine and has tried to convince me that I am not going crazy. My Counsellor and Doctor are worried about my anxiety levels and can see that I am clearly not ok. My Doctor is refering me to a psychologist urgently as they think I have Post traumatic stress disorder. They can put all sorts of labels on this, but I am convinced this is from the Botox, as it started the next morning. I AM 44 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE NEVER HAD ANXIETY , DEPRESSION OR ANYTHING SIMILAR IN MY LIFE BEFORE! Naturally you go through difficult times in life, but I have always coped with everything that has come my way. This is having a dramatic effect on me and my family. I know that many people tolerate Botox well, but I feel very strongly that people (and especially anybody with existing neurological disorders, such as epilepsy) should be warned of these possible life changing side effects. Iff anybody else has experienced anything else similar then I would love to hear Iff this ever gets better. NEVER AGAIN WOULD I EVER CONSIDER BOTOX. I would rather have a million lines than the loss of control that i have now.

Botox and Insomnia - C. P. - Sep 18th 2009

I recently had botox treatment for my forehead and between the eyes and am now experiencing severe insomnia.  In the week following my treament, I have probably slept on average 3 hours per night.  I am unable to fall into a deep sleep.  I start to drift to sleep then suddenly awaken.  It's driving my husband and me crazy.  Prior to the BOtox procedure, i was a great sleeper.  There was no mention of insomnia being a side effect but I now believe it is one and I think that doctors, like you, should investigate claims like mine.  Thank you.

botox treatment is localised only - - Aug 25th 2009

botox DOES NOT cause insomnia or some of the other side effects.

It is localised to the area of injection only. It does not spread to other parts of the body.

I want to feel like myself again - Mary - Aug 22nd 2009

3 weeks ago I  had 200 units of botox injected into the palms of my hands to treat hyperhydrosis (severe sweating).  I'm now suffering from weakness in my hands, i have trouble opening tops on jars, buttoning clothes, putting my hair in a ponytail among other things.  I feel like I get very very tired from doing simple things.  I've also noticed that I have anxiety, something I didn't have before I received the injections.  Although I hate sweaty hands I can't wait for the botox to wear off, I want to feel like myself again.

Botox for TMJ problems - Debby - Aug 14th 2009

My oral surgeon injected Botox into the temporal muscle in my jaw to get it to relax from the spasm that was causing me jaw pain.  After a series of injections, I can't open my mouth beyond 1 inch!  The muscle is completely paralyzed.  My energy level is way down and my mood has plunged into a depression (I am on anti-depressants already and had been feeling great)  I am afraid I will have to be like this for months!  You would think I'd lose weight, since it is difficult to eat, but my ability to exercise has diminished - or my metabolism has slowed, so the weight loss has been minimal.  I'm at 3 weeks now with a "frozen" jaw.

Researching BOTOX Complications - medicalsupport - Jun 28th 2009

Thank you for posting this information. I am currently researching problems people are having with botox procedures. At this point, I am seeing strong indications of botox affecting other parts of the body (and mind). I am currently researching the side effects on the brain related to sleep, depression, anxiety and other conditions including RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). It is interesting to note that botx is know to block acetylcholine. Current claims are that such blocking is done on a localized basis. Research also shows that botox can spread to other parts of the body including the brain. Linking the two together suggests that botox may have unwanted effects on acetylcholine regulation which may result in sleep disorder problems, anxiety, depression, etc. Can anyone reading this comment on similar complications related to botox treatments? Please be as specific as possible regarding when your treatment was done, side effects started and eventual recovery (or continuation of problems). please note that I am a researcher, not a physician. Consult with your physician before trying self-help treatments.

Botox causing insomnia - Steph - May 16th 2009

I had Botox injections a few years ago and vowed never to use it again, after about a week I got the worst flu like symptoms ever, this lasted for what seemed like an eternity, but the worst was the insomnia, I since read that Botox is broken down by the liver which can affect liver function. Not exactly sure if this what caued the insomnia. I didn't feel better until the "stuff" was out of my system which was a good 6 months. Never again!!!

Is it safe to get botox again? - Lisa - Apr 21st 2009

The last 2 times I have had Botox I have experienced anxiety and insomnia for about three weeks. Do you think it is safe to get botox again, as it really helps my headache and I do like the smooth forhead.I just wonder if this is a side effect to a true allergic reaction?Anyone have similar side effects yet continue using Botox?  

Botox anxiety/insomnia - S.T. - Feb 5th 2009
I had Botox for the second time about 2 weeks ago.  About 6 days after I had the injections, I woke up in the night feeling dizzy, nauseous and disoriented.   My eyes were very swpllen.  By the next morning the swelling had subsided but my system felt very 'ramped up'.   The next evening and every evening since then I have had problems sleeping -- i wake up with a 'panic attack'.  I have no issues with anxiety and have never experienced such a thing -- it is purely physiological -- increased heart beat, sweating, which prevents sleep of course.  During the day I feel nauseous and dizzy on and off.  It's funny the worst thing I was concerned about was possibly getting a 'droopy eye' from Botox, I never imagined it would impact my nervous system this way.  Last night I could only sleep 4 hours and this evening i fell asleep only for an hour before waking up with sweats and racing heartbeart again.   I suppose I am sensitive to the Botox or there was some mild leakage.   Unfortunately you never think you are going to be among the 1% of people who has bad side effects from a drug but I am seeing that I am not the only one with these symptoms.   Allergen should study this problem -- I was injected by a facial plastics doctor whose office is actually a 'Botox training center' for Allergen, by the way.   Most of the warnings are around inexperienced injectors but this is not always the case.

Botox and insomnia - - Dec 15th 2008
I have had extreme insomnia since being injected with botox 5 days ago.. does any know how long this will last? I am miserable. Why would botox cause insomnia?

Insomnia Anxiety Sinus Infections - sheena - Jun 4th 2008

I have done botox several times. The first few times I was fine...then the last few times I have had severe side effects, including anxiety, inability to experience joy and insomnia. This usually lasts 3 weeks then I'm fine. The anxiety is low now (I'm a week post botox) because I know what to expect, but the insomnia is strong. I took 6 over the counter sleeping pills last night and as if nothing! I got Ambien today, but am scared to try it. Last time i smoked some pot and that got me through the nights. I also suffered a severe sinus infection for a week. I put very little botox in my face, (18 units total) between my brows and crow's feet. I spent an extra $150.00 on medication. I like the result, but this is too much. My friends do it with no problem...I was in denial and hoped it was a fluke. I'm fine during the night, but dread sleep time as I can only sleep 4 hours, with medication. Bottom line this company is making billions, they don't want to look at any of this.

Botox causes depression! - Mary Jane - May 2nd 2008

For two years now I have been getting botox injections in my forehead. Trust me it is a love hate relationship. I truly know that it is causing depression and for me even weight gain as a result. I have never dealt with depression in the past. I am now considering having a forehead lift so that I can rid myself of the need for botox. Initially I thought that maybe I was the one in a millionth person having allergic reactions to the botox. But over this period of time I have proven to myself over and over again the real truth. As soon as the botox starts to wear off, I feel like myself again.

Paranoia - Jared Hickman - Apr 16th 2007

Having suffered manic depression, anxiety and bipolar episodes since my late teens, I understand first hand how debilitating this illness can be.

Two years ago, I decided to take charge of my mental health and investigated alternative methods to restore wholeness to my mind and body. My goal was to get off of the medications because of their artificial effects. I had tried stopping the meds in the past only to return to them quickly because of the intense feelings of depression and suicide that returned.

Having been a strong believer of alternative healing, I began seeing an accupuncturist, a homeopathic physician, doing regular sessions of colon hydrotherapy and a cranial sacral practitioner to relieve energy blocks and emotional congestion. In addition, I changed my diet dramatically and began a consistent exercise program. Between these modalities and many hours spent in self-development, education and meditation, I became a new person. Over a period of 9 months, I slowly shaved down my anti-depressants until I was weaned off of them. It was amazing. I was free at last. I was grateful at last to be managing my emotional, physical, and spiritual life.

After a few months, I decided to try Botox for my forhead and around my eyes. I'm only 34 but obviously quite caught-up in my appearance. I had investigated the drug and thought, that if anything, it would only help enhance my depressed-free state. Was I ever mistaken. Within a couple days of receiving over 40cc of the toxin, I began experiencing panic and depression for no reason. I started to withdraw from loved ones and co-workers. I couldn't stand the way I was feeling. My sleep became very interrupted with vivid and evil nightmares. I felt more paranoid than I had in all of my life. I was hitting rock bottom. My feelings were so intense that I felt that at times I was experiencing possession by a devil. I would wake-up in the middle of the night feeling that my house was possessed and I was being watched by "something". IT WAS HORRIBLE AND FRIGHTENING. I returned to my cranial sacral therapist who knew nothing of the Botox treatments. She could sense very strongly that my energy had shifted, especially in may facial region. She said, "your energy in your head is not moving?" I didn't tell her about the Botox but knew that by paralyzing the muscles I paralyzed the energy that flows through that part of my body. I don't know how or why Botox created this, but I believe my sensitivity to medications and drugs in general did not make for a good mix.

It's been about two months now and I'm working harder than ever to retain some sort of normalcy in my life until the Botox is out of my system. I am still experiencing bouts of intense depression and anxiety mingled with short spurts of relief. I should have known better than to inject a poison into my body. I'll never use that drug again.


Jared Hickman

Negative Mood Change from Botox Treatment - katrina yorke - Mar 7th 2007

I've been reading articles about how Botox may improve depression.  Well allow me to share a story of a different nature.  About 4-5 days after receiving 40 units of botox in the forehead, I began feeling VERY strange.  Can't really explain the feelings, other than I felt "off balance emotionally" with alternating anxiety and depression.    Note that I have NEVER experienced these feelings (severe anxiety OR depression) before and have always been very in touch with my body and the physiological changes I experience.

These negative feelings continued and proceeded to become more severe.  Also take note I was quite thrilled with how my forehead looked, so these "off balance" feelings, especially the depression, didn't make sense to me.

A couple of days later, even though I was quite tired, for the FIRST time in my life I experienced SEVERE insomnia.  I did NOT sleep for LITERALLY four nights.  Not one wink.  My brain simply would NOT shut down, I could feel it not shutting down.  My depression worsened and I became suididal almost ending my life THAT night.

So I went to the emergency room where they diagnosed me as having severe anxiety, depression with bouts of depersonalization.  My doctor advised that I take a medical leave of absence from work for 30 days, which I did.  He gave me 10 mg. of ambien for sleep and 10 milligrams of Lexaprol for anxiety/depression.

The ambien helped me sleep but I experienced bad side affects.  The Lexaprol made me feel like a zombie, so went off it.

The good news is that NOW, two months later I am FINE.  Everything is back to normal and I'm back to being my ole cheery self again.

But I will NEVER EVER have botox again.  I am planning to contact the investigative team and my local news station letting them know what I experienced directly from the botox. 

By the way, I called my doctor and he assured me that what I experienced was NOT a result of the botox.  I beg to differ since, as I said, I have always been VERY in touch with my body and how I feel, both physically and emotionally.  Also as I mentioned, I find it quite interesting that, at 55 years of age, I had NEVER experienced depression or severe anxiety like this before, so having experienced those feelings, plus the insomnia, literally four days after the botox is worth exploring in my opinion.

Many doctors are now advocating botox treatments for migraines and depression so obviously there is a connection between botox and the brain!!  OBVIOUSLY! 


katrina yorke







longer-term study needed - - Nov 7th 2006
What these studies fail to talk about is what happens when the effect of the botox begins to wear off. I suspect that if the person was depressed before getting a botox treatment, then the return of the frown lines will simply trigger a renewed episode of depression. I would like to know whether the symptoms of depression were relieved permanently or only for as long as the drug lasted. It may be that this "cure" requires constant injections every four to six months -- which is hardly a cure at all.

count me in - Kathy McCutcheon - Jul 20th 2006
My doctor and I have not been able to come up with a treatment for my depression. I have suffered with it for about 10 years (about the time I was diagnosed with MS). I would be thrilled to be part of a study to determine if there is ANY possibility that depression can even be helped with Botox! Who could I write to get some info?

Are you Joking????? - - Jul 5th 2006

I would say please interview and study any person diagnosed with Major Deppressive Disordered for over a 5-10-20 year period and see what they say in assesing if majpr depression and joy are prduced by the same lines in the forehead. PhD in what...buffoonism.

Editor's Note: It does seem like an incredible finding, doesn't it. Difficult to believe. However, so far as we understand this study (and that is admittedly not very well), there does seem to be some merit to the claim. This would probably not be a huge effect, and it might not budge a serious and chronic depression, but it very well might influence a more minor sort of depression.

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