Being in love produces same effects as alcohol on the brain

Being in love produces same effects as alcohol on the brain

Beyonce was correct in saying that she’s “Drunk in Love,” at least according to a study on oxytocin, the chemical known as “the love hormone.”

Produced in the brain’s hypothalamus, oxytocin affects our emotional, cognitive and social behaviors. It makes us more empathetic and generous. It also makes us more willing to trust others, and it reduces anxiety and stress.

After realizing that alcohol can produce these same effects in people, the researchers decided to study if oxytocin and alcohol have similar effects on our brain.

To find an answer, they reviewed a score of studies involving these compounds. In some of the studies, researchers administered oxytocin nasally. The researchers found that oxytocin and alcohol actually did work in similar ways: Both compounds alter signals in our brain that control how we view stress or anxiety. This particularly comes into play in social situations.

Researchers say the effects of oxytocin and alcohol seem to make these situations less intimidating. The researchers did caution, however, that it isn’t a good idea to use alcohol to muster up courage.

The researchers say oxytocin and alcohol share downsides, too, sometimes causing people to be envious of others or to act aggressively. They also warn that because our senses of fear and trust are manipulated by these compounds, we may take unnecessary risks while under the influence.

While the research team doesn’t think oxytocin will be used as widely as alcohol, one member does believe it could be used to treat psychological and psychiatric conditions in the future.

In the meantime, you might use the power of “the love hormone” in place of alcohol to reduce stress. Instead of reaching for a drink before a scary meeting, it might be better to think about how much you love your significant other.

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