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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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Oxytocin and You

September 5, 2012 Oxytocin and Depression, Oxytocin and Sex, Uncategorized Comments Off

Oxytocin is a peptide created in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, and acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, rendering itself highly important for many physical processes in the body, alongside social and emotional processes and development in the body and in the brain.

Oxytocin and its role in the body

Oxytocin was first discovered for important roles in reproduction, including uterine contraction and regulation during childbirth, and the letdown reflex for breastfeeding. It has since been discovered to be just as important for human social function and anxiety reduction, and to form relationships and trust between members of social groups and for intimate relationships. In this way, oxytocin holds a great deal of control over our emotional responses to social situations, helping us to stay calm and content and get on with things. This makes it a very important hormone in the grand scheme of things, which is why it has been the subject of intense research since its discovery.

How oxytocin works

The whole system in which oxytocin works involves many parts of the brain and body including the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the brainstem and the heart. This makes it difficult to pinpoint its precise role and function, but what is known is that the hormone initiates a system similar yet opposite to the role adrenaline plays in stressful situations. While adrenaline gets us ready for the ‘fight or flight’, oxytocin calms us down and makes us more comfortable. Simple things like eating chocolate or sharing a hug release oxytocin in a normal healthy human.

Relationships

There is little to dispute the positive effect of oxytocin in relationships. A paper published in 2008 in Biological Psychiatry showed that it can reduce levels of cortisol when couples argue, helping to significantly reduce levels of stress. This article mirrors a wealth of other reports which show how there is a definite positive correlation between oxytocin levels and amiability and content within a given relationship.

Sexual Implications

There is not a huge body of evidence to show any direct links between the hormone and sexual performance, and as of present the direct link between oxytocin and sexual response is not clear. There is an increasing body of evidence to suggest however that oxytocin has its role to play with sexual stimulation, response and function, and because oxytocin and sex are both linked so closely to emotional behavior, it comes as no surprise that they are both linked at least as an indirect positive correlation.

The things which can affect a healthy sex life are often the same – things like anxiety, communication, connection, trust and security. When there are problems with these types of things within a relationship, a couple’s sex life is often the first thing to be affected. Problems like this often produce a negative feedback effect, which further deteriorates the quality of the relationship and the happiness of both partners. The good news is that the links between all of these emotional and social ailments and oxytocin are proven, and so there are very effective ways to help improve your sex life if you think these things might be affecting you.

What can be done?

We live in a world where stress is more common than ever before. Fast paced lifestyles, employment stress and a ‘quick fix’ mentality are all acting to increase levels of anxiety and stress in people all around the world. The American National Center for Health Statistics released an MMWR report on depression among US adults, which has found that just under 10% of US adults qualify as under depression, and around 4% with major depression. This accords with antidepressants being one of the most prescribed drugs in the US.

How does this link in with Oxytocin? The more depression you experience, the more difficult it is for your body to produce oxytocin, and to experience all the benefits that this hormone creates. You are less likely to produce natural oxytocin when you are under high levels of stress, which means that oxytocin supplements can often be required.

Oxytocin Factor is a supplement of choice among many physicians and professional practitioners, with proven results in reducing stress and anxiety, and the many problems associated with them, such as sexual arousal and maintaining a healthy sex life. So taking oxytocin could be just the supplement you are looking for, with many people finding stress affecting their sex lives stating really positive changes when they take it.

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

 

Oxytocin and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

July 5, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a rare but highly debilitating disease which is characterized by high and persistent levels of fatigue. It is not yet known exactly what causes CFS, but genetic, biological, and infectious processes may all contribute, as well as psychological factors such as stress. There is no test to indicate whether or not someone has the disease, and so requires a thorough examination of all symptoms by a physician before a conclusive answer can be given.

A review made by Dr. Afari and Dr. Buchwald in the American Journal of Psychiatry states that a single cause is highly doubtful, and that roughly a million people in the US suffer from the disease (1).

Before we discuss oxytocin’s potential for relieving symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, let’s examine CFS:

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Oxytocin and Parenting

May 13, 2012 Oxytocin And Adoption, Uncategorized Comments Off

One of the most moving experiences of our, relatively, short lives occurs when we become parents – and not just for the first time either. Seeing your offspring ‘live and kicking’, watching them smile, hearing them cry for the first time are all aspects of our lives that we cannot replace. Holding baby for the first time – whether mother or father, is when bonds that last a lifetime are formed. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t all go according to plan and the bond is harder to create – maybe it’s because the baby has difficulty suckling, or perhaps the mother is suffering from the after effects, sometimes it can be because the baby was born caesarean – but the impact can be dramatic.

Whatever the outcome bonding is important and when it doesn’t happen we all feel at a loss.  Is there anything that might be done to allay these issues?

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Oxytocin and PMS / PMDD

May 1, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off

Mostly, when people come up against problems in life, they most often associate it with not getting enough of what they need and what they want. Things like acceptance, appreciation, partnership and social standing are all things that we all grope at one way or another, and when we have these things going on well, it is easy to see why we want them, because our anxiety levels fall, and our happiness increases.

All of these social tendencies that we share as humans have their roots ultimately in the production of hormones in the brain, which all relate to one of the first neurological process we evolved to have; the reward system. When we do something right, we get rewarded, and we experience this reward with the brain releasing feel good hormones to signify that something has been done right. The brain rewards you, and is letting you know that if you want to keep on feeling good, you better keep on doing it right.

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Oxytocin and Our Need For Touch

April 11, 2012 Oxytocin And Adoption, Uncategorized Comments Off

By Thea Blair

I first noticed how effective touch was in resolving children’s conflicts and emotional issues during the 14 years I taught a mixed age pre-school in my home. It began as a way to manage the behavior of toddlers who just could not get along with their peers or were having a “melt-down.” My intuition told me that they were out of their skill range: they were overwhelmed or over-stimulated. I would hold them over my heart as if they were infants and discovered this was much more effective than any form of “time out.” Later, I saw miraculous results using other forms of gentle touch with older children, too. I began experimenting with either comforting or playful touch. Sometimes I would put a hand on the shoulders of two children having a conflict, sometimes I would hold a child who was sad or angry. Sometimes I would offer them imaginative back massage stories or bounce them on my knee. It was during this time that I began to adapt verses and songs into massage routines. I was amazed at the results: my caring touch was resolving difficult situations much faster and easier than verbal communication alone.

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Oxytocin and Sex for Seniors

March 22, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off

One of the, almost, universal truths is that as you get older your body begins to turn down some of the primal drives that you have – in particular the relationships between older couples can seem devoid of the physical aspects of being in love. Forget the ‘flowers and hearts’ stuff, but there is a fundamental truth and a link between the lengths of time you have been together and the numbers of small, seeming significant, quarrels over almost nothing.

There are numerous scholarly articles related to experiments and testing on prairie voles, sheep and rats that demonstrate the levels of potency increase with the production (or in these cases the introduction) of a naturally occurring hormone called oxytocin. First ‘discovered’ in 1909 by Henry Dale (later to be ‘Sir’ and a Nobel Prize winner), oxytocin is named after a Greek phrase which, when translated, means ‘speedy birth’. What he found was that this hormone, produced in the pituitary gland does many things – amongst which are controlling the contraction of the uterus during birth and the production of human milk during the nursing period! It seems that oxytocin is a wonder drug – so why haven’t we heard so much about it? And if it was thought, primarily, to be about childbirth, what on Earth has it got to do with us seniors?

Well, ‘seniors’ have feelings too and that is what oxytocin controls. There is a wonderful warmth and feeling of ‘togetherness’ in simply having a cuddle or holding hands and that warmth is, in a way, a byproduct of the little gland, the size of a pea, that we know as the pituitary.

I talked earlier about the ‘quarrels’ between people who have been together for a long-time and much of that is down to stress and distance in a relationship – it isn’t that people move apart, more that they don’t find it easy to show emotion or come closer together. So if there was a way…and there is. By simply having a cuddle, you feel closer to the person you are cuddling physically and emotionally. And science has found a mechanism for helping people overcome that irrational fear of disagreements and feeling alone – it’s a treatment that goes under the ungainly title of ‘oxytocin factor sublingual drops or the nasal spray’ – enough to put you off, but don’t let it. … Continue Reading

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