MAY 23, 2015 07:28 PM PDT

Drunk in Love- What We Did Not Know about the "Cuddle Hormone"

WRITTEN BY: Kareem Heslop
Do you remember how nervous you were on your first date? Did you take a shot of alcohol to overcome the anxiety or did you just let the emotions run their course? Well, new research now suggests that the effects of Alcohol and oxytocin may more or less be the same.
The Truth About Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a well-known hormone and neurotransmitter. It is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted into the blood by the pituitary gland. Its action is to influence emotion, cognition and social interactions.

According to Dr. Ian Mitchell of the School of Psychology, at the University of Birmingham he and his colleagues have found that the "Love hormone," oxytocin, and alcohol work in similar ways. Oxytocin triggers empathy, and selflessness, encouraging trust and reducing anxiety, fear and stress. Alcohol is known to have those similar effects and therefore the UK based group set out to investigate this correlation.

Dr. Mitchell and his team of researchers found that although alcohol and oxytocin affect different pathways, they both have similar effects on Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) signaling in the prefrontal cortex and limbic areas of the mammalian brain. Suggesting that usage of these compounds, can affect brain signaling in a way that controls how we perceive stressful situations and anxiety provoking scenarios, especially in social interaction.

Dr. Steven Gillespie of the School of Psychology elaborated on the team's findings by likening having a drink of alcohol in order to ease nervousness to that of feeling calm due to a rush of oxytocin in the blood stream: "The idea of 'Dutch courage' is used to battle those immediate obstacles of fear and anxiety. Oxytocin appears to mirror these effects in the lab," he said.

The dark side of the matter however, is that both alcohol and oxytocin can cause aggressiveness, excessive gloating, envy, and favoritism. The researchers warned that both compounds influence our perception of trust and as a result may encourage illogical and unnecessary risk taking. The UK based group of researchers do not foresee oxytocin becoming a social alternative to alcohol, but may have more useful applications in treatment of psychiatric conditions.

Don't be surprised if the next time you are out at the bar the waiter asks, "Vodka or Oxytocin?"


This Video provides a working definition of oxytocin. It also goes further to mention several other research findings that reveal good and bad effects of oxytocin. You are sure to see both sides of this compound. You decide, to cuddle... or not to cuddle.

(Sources: Medical News Today, Yahoo Health)
About the Author
  • I am an undergraduate Biotechnology major at Claflin University whose research interest is the pursuit of the missing link of metabolism in cancer genesis and development.
You May Also Like
SEP 11, 2018
Neuroscience
SEP 11, 2018
What Learning is Like in the Teen Brain
It's that time of year again. Much like the Christmas song, some parents might think it's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and offic...
SEP 12, 2018
Videos
SEP 12, 2018
Are Sound Waves Being Weaponized?
There have been a lot of headlines recently about strange brain injuries to staff at US Embassies in Cuba and China. Several staff diplomats in the two cou...
SEP 27, 2018
Neuroscience
SEP 27, 2018
A New Science Center For Brain Research
Neuroscientists all over the globe are actively looking for more effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease, but it hasn't been a very productive...
OCT 02, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 02, 2018
Approved Drug may Slow the Progression of Alzheimer's
For many, Alzheimer's disease is just a fact of old age; around 50 percent of people that live to age 85 will get the disorder....
OCT 22, 2018
Neuroscience
OCT 22, 2018
Brain encodes food preference decisions
Expanding ventral pallidum, a basal ganglia structures role in reward-related decision making....
OCT 24, 2018
Neuroscience
OCT 24, 2018
Self-Restraint And Will Power Improves Weight-Loss: Scientific Evidence
Weight loss success linked with active self-control regions of the brain...
Loading Comments...