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Love and grief - and the hormone oxytocin

The Love of my Life

The Love of my Life

  My Roses 29th November 2013

How is the bond between people in love maintained? Scientists at the Bonn University Medical Center have discovered a biological mechanism that could explain the attraction between loving couples: If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy. The results are published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

For a long time, science has therefore been trying to discover the unknown forces that cause loving couples to be faithful. “An important role in partner bonding is played by the hormone oxytocin, which is secreted in the brain”, says Prof. Dr. René Hurlemann,

Oxytocin makes the partner more attractive

. “When  men received oxytocin instead of a placebo during research, their reward system in the brain when viewing the partner was very active, and they perceived them as more attractive than the other women”, says lead author Dirk Scheele.

. “The activation of the reward system with the aid of oxytocin had a very selective effect with the pictures of the partners”, says psychologist Dirk Scheele. “We did not detect this effect with pictures of longstanding acquaintances”. Based on these results, therefore, simple familiarity is not enough to stimulate the bonding effect. They have to be loving couples; of that the scientists are convinced.

Biological mechanism of couple relationships acts like a drug but  could  be the cause of deep grief

 “This biological mechanism in a couple relationship is very similar to a drug”, says Prof. Hurlemann. Both in love and in taking drugs, people are striving to stimulate the reward system in the brain. “This could also explain why people fall into depression or deep mourning after a separation from their partner: Due to the lack of oxytocin secretion, the reward system is understimulated, and is more or less in a withdrawal state. However, therapy with the bonding hormone could possibly be counterproductive: Administration of oxytocin could possibly even increase the suffering, because it would only make the longing for the beloved partner even greater.

Source: University of Bonn


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Comment by laurajay on November 30, 2013 at 7:34pm

Much more to the effects of chemicals, hormones on our bodies and relationships with others than the infor. from one selected study.  A visit on a search (google)  reveals  far more before we draw any conclusions or form an opinion.  Oxytocin  just one example.

Comment by my roses on November 30, 2013 at 2:43am

My roses 30th November

To Bonnie, Patience and AEDforever - I am glad that this article gives a bit of insight to what is happening to us all.   Yes I accept you saying you have "Paul " withdrawal because I have  "Wes distress".   Anything that helps us understand what is happening to us is beneficial.  Just wanted to say that re the "coping" face we put on.. I know we do it to sort of protect ourselves.  But a friend and I made a decision that we would

tell  the truth about how we felt (Not a massive melt down stuff) but something like not to good today or up and down during the week).  I realised that if  I said I was fine at 2mth or 6mths loss then the next widow  they met would be assessed the same.  Namely, that  My roses was feeling fine after 2 mths what is the matter with you?  We felt that it would "train" people to see it was painful and not judge another widow.

I found  a  post by a lady on the site and I sent it to some of people I know (to train them) and have had some good responses.  This is what I sent - I think it is very powerful

Please forgive me

  • Posted by Susan on March 27, 2013 at 7:45pm

To all the widowed people I have known:  please forgive me.  I did not know how much pain you were feeling.  I didn't know that you would feel like you were having a heart attack, because the pressure and pain in your chest was so intense.  I did not know that you would be so exhausted just with the effort of walking through the day.  I didn't know you were frightened of suddenly being responsible for EVERYTHING, yet being unable to think clearly or nake decisions.  I didn't know that your lonliness was as big as a black hole--and just as incomprehensible.  I did not know that you would have given anything to have a listener for your stories about your beloved.  I did not know that you would be incapable of initiating contact with others, but would have been so open to any offers of companionship--even fifteen minutes for a cup of coffee. I didn't know that you might have needed to be reminded to eat, because everything tastes like sawdust, and you don't feel hunger, or anything, anymore.  I didn't know that just driving home from work to an empty house would make you sob.  I thought your family would be there for you--they seemed so supportive at the wake and funeral.  You seemed to have so many friends.  I didn't know that they would disappear almost as quickly as the funeral flowers.   I didn't know.   But I do now.   I'm so sorry that I didn't help you with your pain.  Please forgive me.   Maybe we can be there for each other now.

Comment by dublin53 on April 9, 2013 at 7:32pm

Dear Susan- I am so sorry you had to learn this by becoming part of our group. Please forgive yourself first. You didn't know, and no one here wants anyone to "get it" because we all know what the cost is. It is amazing how fast good friends and even family move on-they get to return to their lives after the funeral. Their lives haven't been irrevocably altered, but yours has. Welcome . This is a place for comfort and understanding

Comment by bj628(Bonnie) on November 29, 2013 at 6:40pm

Wow  that is amazing.   I do still like something is missing...   We  do learn to put on that " coping/happy) face when we are in public.  

 thanks for shaing

Comment by Patience on November 29, 2013 at 10:17am

Yes, this is why I sometimes feel like I've been dropped on the other side of the moon...  Where is the sun?

Comment by AEDforever (Ali) on November 29, 2013 at 7:53am

Makes sense to me. I have "Paul" withdrawal.

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