Many individuals are affected by mental health disorders. It’s estimated that roughly 7% of the world’s population is adversely affected by their mental states. From depression to anxiety, mental health disorders can be troubling and debilitating. While there are prescriptions and medications available for those suffering from such disorders, they’re often accompanied by mild to severe side effects.
There do exist natural chemicals that can treat anxiety, depression, OCD, and many other disorders. Often times, they pose significantly fewer side effects than traditional treatments and medications. One of these is oxytocin. Usually thought of as a feminine hormone, the role of oxytocin may be of use in both men and women.
In 1999, a group of researchers looked into the benefits that oxytocin may have in those suffering from anxiety disorders. The study was conducted on animal test subjects, rats specifically. The test subjects chosen were bred for high and low levels of anxiety, to provide a deeper look into oxytocin’s effects.
Throughout the study on rats, researchers monitored levels of various neurotransmitters. These included compounds such as vasopressin and oxytocin. Furthermore, they observed levels of activity within the hypothalamus, a region of the brain associated with emotional disturbances. They found that higher levels of oxytocin action correlated to lower levels of anxiety.
Another study, published in 2013, observed the effects oxytocin had on a variety of mental health disorders within humans. Researchers documented several demographics and various mental ailments. In particular, they sought out to find correlations between oxytocin and occurrences of such disorders.
The findings were largely indicative of oxytocin’s calming and relieving effects. Within individuals suffering from anxiety-related disorders, oxytocin levels were noted as being low. Additionally, those with autism and associated social impairments also seemed to have lower concentrations of oxytocin. The same held true even for those with schizophrenia; lower levels of oxytocin appeared to contribute to psychosis and related disorders.
Altogether, these animal and human studies show that oxytocin is closely related to mental health. In the study on rats, test subjects that were bred with higher levels of overall anxiety demonstrated lower levels of oxytocin throughout. This suggests that oxytocin, through natural synthesis or supplementation, could quell panic and anxiety problems throughout all mammals, even humans.
The overarching analysis and study on several human demographics also demonstrates oxytocin’s benefits. It appeared that those with varying mental health ailments had lower levels of oxytocin. This suggests that by increasing overall amounts of oxytocin individuals may be able to control their conditions.