Oxytocin May be Used for Relief From Alcohol Withdrawal

By Emily Murray

Chances are you’ve probably heard of oxytocin but perhaps in it’s more generalized nickname – the ‘love hormone.’ Oxytocin is a chemical that is released in the brain and results in bonding either a couple together or even a newborn to it’s mother.

Now it’s believed that oxytocin not only plays a role in alcohol addiction, but may also help ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. To take it even one step further, if used early on, the hormone could even help prevent the dependence from occurring to begin with.

The Study

The study that yielded these findings was a relatively small one, including only 11 subjects. These people suffered from alcoholism to the extent that going without drinking would result in withdrawal symptoms but would not be life threatening.

Instead of using the normal medications provided during detox (like Valium), oxytocin was given. The reason medications like Valium are normally administered is because they can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal including potentially life threatening seizures.

Oxytocin in it’s synthetic form can be inhaled through the nose and is not considered to be addicting though it is known to have an effect on human’s emotions and can also make us more likely to trust people.

Because the study is so new and was conducted in such a small sample size, it’s believed that more research is needed but the evidence does seem to suggest that this may be yet another tool medical professionals can use when helping patients break away from the cage of addiction.