Oxytocin and Addictions (drugs, smoking)

March 17, 2013 Oxytocin and Addiction Comments Off

Our nervous system and our endocrine system are both hugely influential over our lives. The way we think, talk, act, remember, believe and function within a social society are all heavily influenced by the secretion of hormones from glands in the brain and body, which have been designed and refined over the course of human evolution to kick in when we need them, and deliver the beneficial effects that we all know so well.

Oxytocin and Drug Addiction

Chemical use and addiction is intimately involved with hormone production, and neurotransmitter function within the brain. Take cocaine for instance. This substance blocks neurons from re-taking the hormones dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine that it releases across a synapse. This leads to excess hormones in the synaptic gap, causing elevated bodily responses from the elevated hormone levels, such as increased energy and confidence.

Oxytocin is a hormone similar to the ones Can Oxytocin Help with Nicotine and Drug Addictions?mentioned here, and so it makes sense to assume that oxytocin could certainly have effects on those suffering from drug addictions. This has been an area in need of research for a long time, but oxytocin has been shown to inhibit certain drug functions (Kovacs et al., 1998), while being at least partly responsible for the action of drugs like MDMA. These effects are not as important as the positive effects that oxytocin could have at the larger social and emotional scale of drug dependence however, in a field which is lacking just as much research. A link between oxytocin and dopamine is suggesting that control could be placed on addiction, and especially the social forces that preclude addictive behavior, by use of oxytocin.

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Oxytocin Helps Group Thinking and Working

Oxytocin & Working Together

 

Oxytocin, which has been scientifically found to have many benefits such as weight loss, better sex and improved sleep, has now been found to help people work together in groups. A recent study, The “Herding Hormone; Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity” published in the journal, Psychological Science, has found that members of a group are influenced by “horde mentality” and tend to agree with each other.

Love hormone

You may be wondering what the benefits of this finding could be. The stimulation of in-group conformity could lead to several positive outcomes. Oxytocin is the naturally occuring hormone that is often referred to as the “love hormone.” The oxytocin factor is what leads to sociability, trust, generosity, empathy and closeness between people. It is also responsible for creating that unbreakable bond between mother and child, as well as contributing towards fidelity and togetherness in long term relationships.

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