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Tag : oxytocin

Oxytocin: How “love hormone” helps moms care

New research by Indiana University, recently published in the Journal for Hormones and Behavior, suggests that the love hormone, oxytocin, eases mother’s ability to care for an upset newborn. Researchers in the study were trying to see how oxytocin may direct new mothers toward caregiving of infants and away from other concerns  such as physical intimacy. In particular, this research focuses on the impact on mothers in the six months following childbirth.

This study looked at mothers who had given birth in the past six months and women without children. Oxytocin as well as placebo was administered and participants were asked to look at pictures including sexual activity, smiling infant, and crying babies. Neutral images were also used. As the women viewed the images their brain activity was monitored. The findings suggest that all participants who were administered oxytocin experienced a significant increase in brain activity frequently associated with reward systems as they viewed the images of a crying infant.

interestingly, this research suggests that crying which is generally and emotion we find to not be favorable had a greater impact on women then cute or sweet things that we frequently identify as favorable. The importance of maternal orientation to a child who is in distress, early in their development, was suggested as an explanation for the connection between oxytocin, which is strongly connected with reproductive events for women, and the women’s motivation when seeing a crying baby.

Our early connections with caretakers many times can serve as the foundation for our sense of comfort and safety both in who we are and in relation to others. These are also areas which are frequently associated with oxytocin. and understanding our lives today can be helpful to be curious and aware of how our early interactions may shape us today. This is something that interests you are you would like to explore further please contact Dr. Charles R. Davenport Psy.D. who is a licensed psychologist in Venice Florida and Sarasota Florida

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Love hormone used to treat alcohol dependence?

Oxytocin, a hormone that affects feelings of closeness and well-being and is associated with long-term mating behaviors, has been found to counter the effects of a beer buzz. This according to recent research from the University of Regensburg, in Germany and the University of Sydney, in Australia. The relationship between oxytocin and alcohol was explained Dr. Michael Bowen in a recent press release.

The findings indicate that alcohol remained in the rats system and that oxytocin prevented the intoxicating effects on the animal. Dr. Bowen explained that “in the rat equivalent of his sobriety test, the rats given alcohol and oxytocin passed with flying colors, while those given alcohol without oxytocin were seriously impaired.”

It is believed that the oxytocin being present in the system prevented GABA-a receptors in the rat brain from being activated. This suggests that the rat will have alcohol in its system but not exhibit any of the intoxicating effects frequently seen with GABA-a receptor activation. GABA is one of the most powerful inhibitory receptors in our mind and body is also associated with sleep function. GABA may also be responsible for the seizure activity associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Many people who use alcohol excessively, to the extent where it interferes with their happiness in functioning, depend on alcohol to manage thoughts and/or emotions that are unpleasant. Many times these techniques were learned early in life and are even adaptive reflexes to getting need attention from the environment.

Attachment theory looks at how our connection to early people we depended on, for caretaking, affects our emotional regulation (release of oxytocin). Many times people who struggle with alcohol dependence have had disruption in these important relationships or receiving the attention they needed. It is possible that oxytocin which is released during these powerful bonds early in life continues to play a role with alcoholics as adults. This is interesting new research that seems to follow our understanding of emotional regulation and attachment as they relate to alcohol abuse and probably most substances or relationships of abuse.


Dr. Charles R. Davenport helps people struggling with addiction better understand and find change in their lives. If you might want help with an addiction call the Sarasota or Venice offices of Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. at 941-321-1971.


Here is another article on the press release.

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