Oxytocin and autism

Autism is a very unfortunate condition, especially because there is not an easy way to treat it and the condition cannot really be cured. Usually, each patient is assessed separately and there is a different therapy for every individual. The good thing about it is that some autistic people can be treated to a certain degree, but the bad news is that this takes hard work and a lot of time.

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This social disorder makes it hard for people to function in a society. Doctors have to be able to find a way to make their patients more relaxed and to help them become more capable of perceiving and responding to the things around them. Some scientists claim that the thing that can help autistic individuals become more relaxed and more aware of the things going on around them is oxytocin, a chemical that is thought to have a lot to do with our feelings and the way we behave.

The results of different studies on animals show that this hormone helps in dealing with stressful situations. The animals from the studies, which were all subjected to a stressful situation, all felt much calmer and much more relaxed once they were given the hormone even though they still remained in the same situation. In these cases, a stressful situation was provoked by isolating the animals.

Autistic patients may feel the same way because they are also isolated. They don’t like the unknown and their condition usually worsens if something that they feel comfortable with changes. In such cases, oxytocin can help these individuals react differently and it can help them feel more comfortable with new things and new situations.

Scientists still cannot say for sure that oxytocin should be a definite treatment for autism, but various studies show that after the patients are given an injection of this hormone, they react differently, usually with more clarity and more understanding of the things and the people around them. Generally, people affected by autism are unable to recognize what other people are going through and what kind of emotions they are experiencing. However, when they are given oxytocin, they become more capable of identifying emotional content of someone’s speech.

Unfortunately, this was not a comprehensive study, but it certainly made other scientists think about the possibility of treating autism with oxytocin. More research has to be carried out and there are even suggestions that the research will make room for the possibility of seeing whether the hormone can also treat depression and other social disorders as well.

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As we already pointed out, there is no cure for autism, but there is a possibility that this might change one day, all thanks to oxytocin. As it seems today, there is nothing else that can even remotely compare to how easily and how quickly this hormone can alter the behavior of autistic patients.