June 17, 2024 at 12:12 pm

Doctors Say An Oxytocin Nasal Spray Could Help Lonely Folks Feel Better

by Trisha Leigh

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Experts say there is a loneliness epidemic out there, and that single men make up the bulk of those who are suffering.

While society tries to figure out what’s causing it and how to fix it, researchers say a blast of oxytocin could hold people over until help arrives.

This intriguing study, published in Psychother Psychosom, claims that administering oxytocin – popularly known as the “love hormone” as a nasal spray helps people feel better.

The subjects did not report a reduction in perceived loneliness, stress, or quality of life, but they did report a reduction in acute feelings of loneliness.

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And according to senior author Jana Lieberz, the effects lingered for months.

“The psychological intervention was associated with a reduced perception of stress and an improvement in general loneliness in all treatment groups, which was still visible at the follow-up examination after three months.”

Oxytocin is strongly associated with bonding, and researchers found their subjects also had an easier time connecting during group therapy sessions.

“This is a very important observation that we made – oxytocin was able to strengthen the positive relationship with the other group members and reduce acute feelings of loneliness right from the start. It could therefore be helpful to support patients with this at the start of psychotherapy. This is because we know that patients can initially feel worse than before starting therapy as soon as problems are named. The observed effects of administering oxytocin can in turn help those affected to stay on the ball and continue.”

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The trial had only 78 participants, so more research is needed – including being able to pinpoint the difference between “perceived” and “acute” loneliness.

That said, oxytocin could help alleviate loneliness, which is associated with a host of mental and physical illnesses.

Don’t be surprised if we see more studies and doctors pushing oxytocin as ways to help desperate people find a way to connect.

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