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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 and Weight Loss: A new study reveals indicators for possible breakthrough

An exciting new animal study has found that the hormone oxytocin could be a potential breakthrough weight loss treatment

Weight loss is one of the most challenging issues for many people. There are so many suggested weight loss formulas and diets, that it is not surprising people become confused over the subject.

New findings

Oxytocin, a reproductive hormone, has been found to regulate food intake and energy metabolism, according to the study, which was presented at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting on June 24, 2012, in Houston. The study’s leaders presented how oxytocin helps initiate uterus contractions in women, and stimulates the milk-producing glands during childbirth. Previous research by the same medical team had also found a link between oxytocin and the body’s control over energy intake and use.

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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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