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addictive behavior, love hormone disruption

A new research study from the University of Adelaide in Australia shows that addictive behavior interferes with love hormone production. Oxytocin, which is often called the love hormone and is believed to be the drug that helps infants bond, develops poorly in children who come from parents with addictive behavior. The results of the research study was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. University of Adelaide’s School of Medical Sciences Dr. Femke Buisman-Pijlman states “We know that newborn babies already have levels of oxytocin in their bodies, and this helps to create the all-important bond between a mother and her child. But our oxytocin systems aren’t fully developed when we’re born — they don’t finish developing until the age of three, which means our systems are potentially subject to a range of influences, both external and internal. You can’t change the genes you’re born with, but environmental factors play a substantial role in the development of the oxytocin system until our systems are fully developed.”

The theory advocated by Dr. Femke Buisman-Pijlman is that adversity experienced early in life is a key component to an oxytocin system development that is impaired or inhibited. According to her “This adversity could take the form of a difficult birth, disturbed bonding or abuse, deprivation, or severe infection, to name just a few factors. Understanding what occurs with the oxytocin system during the first few years of life could help us to unravel this aspect of addictive behavior and use that knowledge for treatment and prevention.” This study could lead to new developments in substance abuse detection and treatment.