Oxytocin’s Potential Link to Domestic Violence, and Other NewsJune 12, 2014 • Contributed by Zawn Villines, GoodTherapy.org Correspondent
A brain hormone called oxytocin has long been linked to feelings of love and affection. The chemical helps initiate uterine contractions during child labor, and is released in large quantities when women are lactating or have just given birth. Previous research has also implicated oxytocin in orgasm, romantic love, and social recognition.
But this love hormone may also have a dark side. A recent University of Kentucky study exposed subjects to stressful situations that might provoke aggression—a public speech to a hostile audience—followed by the placement of an ice-cold bandage on subjects’ foreheads. Half the subjects inhaled oxytocin, while the other half got a placebo instead.
When asked how likely they would be to commit violent acts against their romantic partners, the subjects who had inhaled oxytocin were more likely to have violent inclinations—but only if they had previously been judged as prone to physical aggression. Another study found that, among people with borderline personality, oxytocin has a paradoxical effect of undermining trust and cooperation.
Science fiction writers, among others, have dreamed of devices that can be controlled by thoughts. At the kickoff of the June 12 World Cup, that dream becomes a reality. For several months, eight paralyzed people have trained with a brain-controlled exoskeleton that allows them to kick, and one lucky person will get to open up the World Cup with a kick.
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Researchers know that social support can aid smokers in finally ditching the habit. A new study, which followed 503 smokers, found that those who got counseling through Text2Quit were more likely to stay quit. Eleven percent of counseling recipients successfully quit, compared to 5% among a control group who relied on self help materials alone.
Real estate blog Movoto has released a list of the five most stressed states in America based on factors such as housing prices, commute times, and working hours. The most-stressed states are Georgia, New Jersey, California, and Nevada, with Florida leading the pack. The blog says that Florida is stressed because 25% of the population has no health insurance and nearly 12% of Floridians are unemployed.
A new report by Express Scripts has found that rates of attention deficit (ADHD) are increasing among young women. The report states that women aged 19 to 25 are 27% more likely to have ADHD than girls aged four to 18. The report argues that girls’ symptoms of ADHD are more likely to be ignored, increasing their likelihood of being diagnosed when they encounter challenges in early adulthood.
A new report by Johns Hopkins University argues that academic performance can be a product of family housing access. Families who spend more than half their monthly income on housing are more likely to have children who struggle in math and reading. Interestingly, children also struggle in families who spend less than 20% of their income on housing. Families that spend too much on housing may not be able to afford school supplies and other basic necessities, while families who spend too little may live in dangerous homes or neighborhoods.
Between the years of 2008 and 2010, the United States and Europe experienced a severe recession. New research shows that suicide rates also skyrocketed. The research looked at a total of 26 countries, and found that in the European Union, the suicide rate had increased by 6.5% in 2009. The study’s authors believe that as many as 10,000 suicides may be directly attributable to the financial downturn.
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The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. GoodTherapy.org did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org.
JulietteJune 12th, 2014 at 2:22 PM
Would it be fair to assume that those who are violent toward others have a natural tendency to make more oxytocin?
WinnieJune 12th, 2014 at 3:27 PM
Those suicide numbers are horrible. I knew that many people faced severe financial difficulties during the recession but I had no idea that the outcomes would manifest in so many suicides. I guess that we should not be surprised, fanances are hard for all of us and if someone’s took a huge hit or they felt responsible for th losses that others were digesting then if they were already depressed then yeah, it makes sense that the njmbers went up like this. I am saddened to learn though that there were so many whose lives went up in flames over this two year period of time, that they were not resilient to think ahead that what goes down will eventually turn and go up again. But I guess that there were so many who felt so deeply in debt, there was no light at the end of the tunnel for them to see or focus on.
MaxJune 13th, 2014 at 2:26 PM
Texting is such an essential part of our daily lives, and I am happy to read there are smoking cessation programs that are gaining success by providing therapy and nmotivation via this medium. I don’t know how much this is being used as a commom practice but as much as the public in general usse this form of communicating with each other it would only make sense for therapists to employ this as a tool in their practice too.
sethJune 14th, 2014 at 5:28 AM
I am not really that much into soccer- did that happen with the paralyzed person at the opening game of the World Cup? I wish that I would have known sooner, I would have paid a little more attention to the start of the tournament.
ErickaJune 16th, 2014 at 4:15 PM
I thought that oxytocin was kind of that thing that made you feel good- now you think that it makes some people violent? Conflicting info here unless I am thinking about some other hormone that supposedly gives you that “high” feeling
GenevaJune 18th, 2014 at 1:55 PM
Sort of surprised about the stressed out states, amnily because I always think of California of being this really hip and laid back sort of place, same with Florida.
I guess that just goes to show me that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and that I should take this chance to be a little more grateful for where I live.
Maybe not as seemingly cool as some of the other places, but hey, we’re apparently not so worried either.
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