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Can Botox Actually Make You Less Happy?

Update Date: Apr 11, 2013 04:49 PM EDT

Botox injections used to diminish the appearance of crows-feet also reduce strength in the eye muscles which are key to your beautiful smile.

A psychologist at Cardiff University in the UK suggests the cosmetic injections, Botulinum toxin, actually prevent faces from showing happiness.

In a study analyzing the concept of facial feedback of 25 people, Dr. Michael Lewis says botox can affect the way we feel and even how we see the world because the expression we make on our faces affect the emotions we feel.

Lewis, is presenting his findings to the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Harrogate.

His research initially examined the psychological impact of reducing frown lines on people's foreheads using the cosmetic injections.

"If you can't frown any more you end up feeling happier," said Lewis, according to BBC News. "It's called facial feedback. The expressions we make on our face are connected to the emotions we feel."

However he also said facial feedback had an impact on Botox treatment of crows' feet or laughter lines around the eyes.

Dr. Lewis used a questionnaire to assed the levels of depression in a small group of people who had received Botulinum toxin A through the referral of a clinical diagnosis criteria.

Lewis found the feeling of depression was higher in the group which had treatment for crows' feet and frown lines when compared to another group who just had injections for frown lines alone.

The psychologist suggested this was due to the treatment because it had "reduced the strength of a smile" and made people feel less happy.

"Treatment with drugs like Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression."

"For example, those treated for frown lines are not able to frown as strongly. This interrupts the feedback they would normally get from their face and they feel less sad."

Lewis would like to conduct further research on facial feedback with the effects of similar drug treatments on the emotion of disgust, which is a feature of people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

If the facial expression of disgust can be reduced then perhaps feelings of disgust can too, said Lewis. 

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