Oxytocin: The Key to Fidelity

The famous poet, Oscar Wilde, once said: “Those who are faithless know the pleasures of love; it is the faithful who know love’s tragedies.” Perhaps Oscar was referring to the emotional torment felt by those on the receiving end of infidelity. Or perhaps he was referring to the temptation all too often experienced by men – and women – to cheat on a partner. Either way, infidelity is without a doubt the most difficult problem any couple can face, for both the faithful and the faithless partner. Surely if there was a drug that could cure people from the temptations of infidelity, it would be flying off the pharmacy shelves? Well, it appears there might be.

“Social distance” is what can prevent people from cheating. It is the unwritten physical distance that people keep between them when they communicate. Communication within this distance is the point at which people start to feel uncomfortable. One set of circumstances that really tests the boundaries of social distance is when two people flirt. When these people give in to temptation, that social distance is broken down.

It was initially thought that oxytocin, a substance that encourages social relationships, would be able to break down that distance. Researchers at the University of Bonn recently decided to put this theory to the test. Oxytocin has long been nick-named the “love hormone”, so researchers at the institute thought that the substance would diminish any desire to maintain social distance.

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Oxytocin and Postpartum Depression

Also known as ‘post natal depression,’ postpartum describes some of the emotions that surround the period immediately after childbirth when the bond between mother and baby is often cemented by the production of milk during breast-feeding.  But for many mothers this cementation is made more difficult when their natural hormones don’t kick in and they find it hard to lactate – and this pressure builds up till it spills over into the whole family relationship.

Way back at almost the beginning of the last century, 1906 to be exact, a British scientist discovered a naturally occurring hormone, secreted during childbirth called oxytocin (translated from the Greek meaning ‘speedy birth’) and found that it had a couple of primary functions; first it contracted the uterus to help the birthing process and then it stimulated the mammary glands to begin lactation. While it was Sir Henry Dale[1]  who first discovered the hormone and its connections, much work has been done in the area of postpartum across the years and most recently James F. Paulson, PhD et al, talked about the issue in the ‘Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics’[2]  in an abstract from an article that looked at the links between postpartum on mothers, fathers and parenting. In the full article they discuss the role of oxytocin in lactation and the impact that the reduction or even cessation of milk production can have on stress levels for the whole family.

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Need Help with Drug Addiction?

November 16, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off

The Coalition Against Drug Abuse website has lots of great information about alcohol and drug addiction.

“If you think that someone you love is addicted to drugs, it’s important that you handle the situation carefully. It’s common to be afraid to approach you loved one about drug use, because you don’t know how he or she will react. However, the important thing is finding the substance abuse help he or she needs.”

How to Help a Drug Addict

Oxytocin and Schizophrenia

November 8, 2012 Oxytocin and Mental Illness, Uncategorized Comments Off

Schizophrenia is a highly damaging psychological disorder with massive costs to anyone who suffers from it. While there are many different types of treatments available as a prescription and as supplements alongside psychosocial treatments, the highly serious and complex nature of the disorder means that medical professionals are always keeping their ear to the ground in the hope that a new treatment will come along, and oxytocin is proving to be a highly promising candidate. This article will go over the causes of the disorder, and then delve into oxytocin and its potential.

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