Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Interesting facts on Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone that is released by the brain when we are around others – playing or showing affection produces oxytocin. It is also known as the love hormone. It is also associated with empathy, childbirth, sexual activity and relationship bonding.

Levels of oxytocin increase during orgasms and hugging and can help in the fight against depression and anxiety.

Oxytocin is also used as a drug:

Oxytocin is sold as a prescription drug under the brand name Pitocin. Under medical supervision, an oxytocin injection is sometimes used to start birth contractions or strengthen them during labor, and it helps reduce bleeding after delivery. Side effects include a rapid heartbeat and unusual bleeding.

Oxytocin can also be administered to make the uterus contract and control bleeding after a delivery or a termination.

It can also be used to medically to induce a termination or complete a miscarriage.

Love hormone

In 2012, researchers reported that people in the first stages of romantic attachment had higher levels of oxytocin, compared with non-attached single people. These levels persisted for at least 6 months.

Sexual activity stimulates the release of oxytocin, and it appears to have a role in erection and orgasm. The reason for this is not fully understood, but, in women, it may be that the increased uterine motility may help sperm to reach their destination. Some have proposed a correlation between the concentration of oxytocin and the intensity of orgasm.

When Oxytocin is released into certain parts of the brain, it can impact emotional, cognitive, and social behaviors.

Research into oxytocin shows that the hormone’s impact on “pro-social behaviors” and emotional responses contributes to relaxation, trust, and psychological stability.

Brain oxytocin also helps to reduce stress responses, including anxiety. These effects have been seen in a number of species.

The hormone has been described as “an important component of a complex neurochemical system that allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations.”

Interesting research:

In 2011, research published in Psychopharmacology found that intranasal oxytocin improved self-perception in social situations and increased personality traits such as warmth, trust, altruism, and openness.

In 2013, a study published in PNAS suggested that oxytocin may help keep men faithful to their partners, by activating the reward centers in the brain.

In 2014, researchers published findings in the journal Emotion suggesting that people saw facial expression of emotions in others more intensely after receiving oxytocin through a nasal spray.


Psychiatric therapyOxytocin has been proposed as a possible treatment for social phobia, autism and postpartum depression.

Scientists have proposed that it might help improve interpersonal and individual wellbeing, and that it could have applications for people with some neuropsychiatric disorders.

They believe it could help people who avoid social interaction, and those who experience persistent fear and an inability to trust others.

Children with autism could benefit from oxytocin, say some researchers. In 2013, a small study suggested that oxytocin levels in the brain affected how 17 children perceived a series of social and non-social images.

Oxytocin may also play a role in anger management. Research has indicated that certain polymorphisms of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene are associated with an increased tendency to react angrily to situations.

In particular, differences in OXTR gene expression appear to affect the regulation of the relationship between alcohol and aggressive behavior.



The role of oxytocin is complex and not easy to pin down.

While it appears to enhance bonding and the forming of communities, it may also encourage the formation of “in-groups” and “out-groups,” giving rise to envy, prejudice, and possibly aggression.

Participants in a 2014 study were more likely to lie for the benefit of others in the same group after receiving oxytocin. The findings, said researchers, could help with “providing insight into when and why collaboration turns into corruption.”

More investigation is needed to understand the complexity of oxytocin and what it does.

Mandy X


Refs: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795.php

Photo by Adrian Dascal on Unsplash