- 06-26-2008, 12:09 AM
does anyone who suffers from severe depression and anxiety, ever been prescribed oxytocin??? its primary a birth hormone that progresses a woman thru delivery, but it has been shown effective for helping with anxiety. besides my antidepressiant and antipsychotic, i take clonapin for my anxiety. plan to ask my doc if oxytocin may help.....
- 06-26-2008, 03:10 AM
- 06-26-2008, 04:08 PM
06-26-2008, 05:08 PM
I'm pretty sure oxytocin is addictive so you'd have to be careful with it. It's one of the chemcals responsible for maternal care and pair-bonding in monogamous mammals. Potent stuff.
Source: NIH/National Institute of Mental Health
Date: 08 December 2005
Trust-building Hormone Short-circuits Fear In Humans
A brain chemical recently found to boost trust appears to work by reducing activity and weakening connections in fear-processing circuitry, a brain imaging study at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has discovered.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging data (red) superimposed on structural MRI scans. Frightful faces triggered a dramatic reduction in amygdala activity in subjects who had sniffed oxytocin, suggesting that oxytocin mediates social fear and trust via the amygdala and related circuitry. (Source: NIMH Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program)
Scans of the hormone oxytocin's effect on human brain function reveal that it quells the brain's fear hub, the amygdala, and its brainstem relay stations in response to fearful stimuli. The work at NIMH and a collaborating site in Germany suggests new approaches to treating diseases thought to involve amygdala dysfunction and social fear, such as social phobia, autism, and possibly schizophrenia, report Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, M.D., Ph.D., NIMH Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, and colleagues, in the December 7, 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
"Studies in animals, pioneered by now NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel, have shown that oxytocin plays a key role in complex emotional and social behaviors, such as attachment, social recognition and aggression," noted NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D.. "Now, for the first time, we can literally see these same mechanisms at work in the human brain."
"The observed changes in the amygdala are exciting as they suggest that a long-acting analogue of oxytocin could have therapeutic value in disorders characterized by social avoidance," added Insel.
Inspired by Swiss scientists who last summer reported  that oxytocin increased trust in humans, Meyer-Lindenberg and colleagues quickly mounted a brain imaging study that would explore how this works at the level of brain circuitry. British researchers had earlier linked increased amygdala activity to decreased trustworthiness.  Having just discovered decreased amygdala activity in response to social stimuli in people with a rare genetic brain disorder that rendered them overly trusting of others, Meyer-Lindenberg hypothesized that oxytocin boosts trust by suppressing the amygdala and its fear-processing networks.
To test this idea, he asked 15 healthy men to sniff oxytocin or a placebo prior to undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, which reveals what parts of the brain that are activated by particular activities. While in the scanner, the men performed tasks known to activate the amygdala -- matching angry or fearful faces and threatening scenes.
As expected, the threatening pictures triggered strong activation of the amygdala during the placebo scan, but markedly less activity following oxytocin. The difference was especially pronounced in response to threatening faces, suggesting a pivotal role for oxytocin in regulating social fear. In addition, oxytocin dampened the amygdala's communication with sites in the upper brainstem that telegraph the fear response. The results mirrored findings in rats , reported earlier this year by European scientists.
"Because increased amygdala activation has been associated with social fear in social phobia, genetic risk for anxiety and depression, and possibly with social fear in autism assessed during faces processing, this dual mode of action of oxytocin in humans suggests a potentially powerful treatment approach toward socially relevant fear," suggest the researchers.
People with autism characteristically avert their gaze from faces. A fMRI study  reported earlier this year by NIMH grantee Richard Davidson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, and colleagues, found over-activation of the amygdala in people with autism when they were looking at faces. Meyer-Lindenberg said future studies may test oxytocin as a treatment for such social anxiety symptoms in children with autism.
"Future research may also examine how oxytocin affects the amygdala in women, the mode of action of related hormones such as vasopressin, and how genetic variants in these hormones and their receptors affect brain function," he added.
Also participating in the research were: Peter Kirsch, Christin Esslinger, Daniela Mier, Stefanie Lis, Harald Gruppe, Bernd Gallhofer, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; Qiang Chen, Sarina Siddhanti, Venkata Mattay, NIMH Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program.
 Kosfeld M, Heinrichs M, Zak PJ, Fischbacher U, Fehr E. Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature. 2005 Jun 2;435(7042):673-6.
 Winston JS, Strange BA, O'Doherty J, Dolan RJ. Automatic and intentional brain responses during evaluation of trustworthiness of faces. Nat Neurosci. 2002 Mar;5(3):277-83.
 Huber D, Veinante P, Stoop R. Vasopressin and oxytocin excite distinct neuronal populations in the central amygdala. Science. 2005 Apr 8;308(5719):245-8.
 Dalton KM, Nacewicz BM, Johnstone T, Schaefer HS, Gernsbacher MA, Goldsmith HH, Alexander AL, Davidson RJ. Gaze fixation and the neural circuitry of face processing in autism. Nat Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(4):519-26. Epub 2005 Mar 6.
06-27-2008, 08:01 PM
well im hoping to use it to help me get more comfortable in social situations. even on the clonapin i still get overstimulated when around people for too long, including family. just want to be able to talk and be part of the situations for once.
06-27-2008, 08:33 PM
It can turn anything from job interviews to the most routine of family gatherings into a sweat-inducing ordeal.
But a 'love drug' produced naturally by the body during sex and childbirth could offer hope to the millions of people blighted by shyness, scientists have said.
Investigators believe oxytocin - a natural hormone that assists childbirth and helps mothers bond with newborn babies - could become a wonder drug for overcoming shyness.
Scientists found the drug could help shyness
Trials have found that oxytocin can reduce anxiety and ease phobias. Researchers say the hormone offers a possible, safe, alternative to alcohol as a means of overcoming the problem.
Sixty per cent of Britons say they have suffered from shyness and one in 10 say it impedes their daily life.
Researchers in the US, Europe and Australia are now racing to develop commercial forms of the hormone, including a nasal spray.
They believe it could also be turned into a 'wonder drug' to treat a range of personality disorders such as autism, depression and anxiety.
Paul Zak, a professor of neuroscience at California’s Claremont Graduate University said: 'Tests have shown that oxytocin reduces anxiety levels in users. It is a hormone that facilitates social contact between people.
What’s more, it is a very safe product that does not have any side effects and is not addictive.'
Professor Zak has tested the hormone on hundreds of patients. Its main effect is to curb the instincts of wariness and suspicion that cause anxiety.
The hormone is said to help mothers bond with their babies
Produced naturally in the brain during social interactions, it promotes romantic feelings, helps mothers bond with babies and makes people more sociable.
Oxytocin is released during orgasm and is also the key birthing hormone that enables the cervix to open and the contractions to work. Where labour has to be induced, it is often given to the mother intravenously to kick-start contractions.
Professor Zak said: 'We've seen that it makes you care about the other person. It also increases your generosity towards that person. That's why (the hormone) facilitates social interaction.'
In other recent trials, researchers at Zurich University in Switzerland have managed to ease symptoms of extreme shyness in 120 patients by giving them the hormone treatment half an hour before they encountered an awkward situation.
Oxytocin spray has also been successfully trialled at the University of New South Wales.
Autistic patients given oxytocin as part of a study in New York found their ability to recognise emotions such as happiness or anger in a person's tone of voice - something which usually proved difficult - also improved.
Experiments by Dr Eric Hollander at the city's Mount Sinai School of Medicine found a single intravenous infusion of the chemical triggered improvements that lasted for two weeks.
Previous research has revealed autistic children have lower than usual levels of oxytocin in their blood.
Professor Zak said: 'Oxytocin does not cure autism, but it does reduce the symptoms.'
Studies on rats at Emory University in Atlanta also suggested the hormone made the rodents more faithful to their partners.
The potential uses of oxytocin offer commercial possibilities well beyond individual patients too. Restaurants, for instance, could spray a thin mist over customers to put them at ease.
It could be used as a benign form of tear gas, quelling any violent feelings among groups of demonstrators, or, building on the Atlanta research, even to prevent extramarital affairs.
Previous research into the hormone by Professor Zak suggested that generous people had higher than average levels of oxytocin in the brain, while mean-spirited people have lower than normal levels.
Researchers gave doses of oxytocin and a placebo to participants, who were then asked to decide how to split a sum of cash with a stranger. Those given oxytocin offered 80 per cent more money than those given a placebo.
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