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Oxytocin and Anxiety

July 13, 2012 Oxytocin And Anxiety, Oxytocin and Depression No Comments

The human body is a complicated organism, linking a vast network of cells and vessels all helping to keep the body stable and healthy. The brain likes to keep healthy too, but the brain is also extremely complicated. There is still a great deal to learn about the most complicated object in the known universe, but we know enough these days to combat all sorts of problems that link to chemical production and reception in the brain, and there are also plenty of supplements which can be freely purchased to aid medical diagnosis and treatment. This article looks into the problem of anxiety, its effects, and a new candidate for treatment called oxytocin.

The rise of anxiety

In most people, anxiety is a natural phenomenon which precludes times of high pressure. It is perfectly natural to be anxious in the right circumstances, and the brain’s response to stressful situations is to release chemicals which allow us to perform well under such circumstances, and to stay energetic, alert and ready for action. This fight or flight stress reaction is what allowed us to evade our predators during our evolution, and to do well in exams and presentations in the modern world.

However, there is certainly a line between the healthy connotations of stress, and too much stress. Too much stress can cause huge changes in your life and cause you major health problems in the short and long term. If you feel you might have a problem, then it helps to outline the things in your life which you know are causing you anxiety.

Anxiety disorder is when you cannot contain your worries, with constant feelings of anxiety making it difficult to maintain a healthy and normal life. Generalized anxiety disorder is a long term anxiety which may not focus on anything in particular, but is a feeling which is always present. Associated disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder.

There are many factors which increase the chances of being overly anxious or having anxiety disorder, including genetics, nurture and life events, and brain chemistry, but what is certainly true is that anxiety is on the up. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America states that anxiety disorders are now the most common psychological illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults, in a number that is set to increase (1). The link between sociology and anxiety is clear, and with the world rapidly developing into a hotbed of social interconnectivity, with conurbations stretching as far as the eye can see, with busy lifestyles and stressful jobs, there is no wonder that levels of stress, anxiety and depression are increasing. Research at San Diego State University shows the same increase but (troublingly) within younger generations (2).

Oxytocin and its effects

Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland which has an important role in specific biological events, such as childbirth and breastfeeding, and is currently undergoing high levels of study due to the links between it and social situations.

Aside from the physical effects, oxytocin promotes the reduction of anxiety in the individual, raising levels of contentment and security. These effects have coined the term ‘the love hormone’ which are caused when oxytocin is released in romantic situations. The effect works the same for social situations at large, allowing empathy and trust to develop between friends and groups of people. Overall oxytocin motivates human interaction, and is positively reinforced when healthy human interaction occurs.

The problem stated in the previous section seeps in because high levels of stress and anxiety stop oxytocin from doing its job properly. When oxytocin is not being produced or properly received, there is nothing to stop the anxiety from amplifying.

Addressing the problem of anxiety

It is now fairly obvious to point out that oxytocin seems to tackle almost the exact same set of responses caused by high levels of anxiety, since oxytocin promotes the exact opposite feelings of anxiety and stress. This naturally makes oxytocin a highly promising candidate with which to treat anxiety disorder and depression.

But is there any evidence for this? A leading family physician Dr. Tammy Tucker promotes the use of oxytocin as she has seen it work extremely well with patients who suffer from stress and anxiety, and this is among a growing body of evidence proclaiming the benefits of this supplement.

Oxytocin Factor is an affordable way to see if oxytocin works for you. It is available both as a liquid which is dropped under the tongue, or as a nasal spray.

(1)- http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
(2)- Twenge, J., et al., (2010). Birth cohort increases in psychopathology among young Americans, 1938-2007: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of the MMPI. In press, Clinical Psychology Review 30, 145-154

For more information contact Bryan Post, Managing Editor of Oxytocin Central info@oxytocincentral.com or call (405) 476-1983

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