Biomedical Autism Intervention – Oxytocin and Social Anxiety and Autism

Posted on 15 November 2009 by admin

An interesting therapy for certain individuals on the Autism Spectrum is something called Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced in our bodies and it has a wide range of effects. When a woman is in labor, Oxytocin helps with uterine contractions so it is useful for the delivery of the baby. When a mother is breastfeeding her newborn, Oxytocin can be released and it is felt that Oxytocin helps with mother to child bonding that occurs with breastfeeding.

This is important for the human to human interaction. Oxytocin is also released during physical contact between two people, particularly during sexual intercourse we know it is released in large amounts. Oxytocin is helping overall with that bonding.

As a therapy, Oxytocin has been very helpful particularly for social anxiety. There are a couple of other effects that are interesting with Oxytocin. Oxytocin seems to help with facial cue recognition. That enables us to tell the difference between a happy face, sad face, inquisitive face, etc. It also helps with voice cue recognition as well.
They did a study with adults on the Autism Spectrum and who had Asperger’s as well and they gave them an IV infusion of Oxytocin and then measured their response over a two week period of time. What they found was that the individuals that received the Oxytocin did much better at looking at pictures of different facial expressions and picking out the differences as well as listening to recordings of different voice emotional cues, an angry voice, a happy voice, etc.

So we know Oxytocin can be helpful in those effects. Oxytocin is a useful remedy to consider particularly if the child, teenager or adult that you know has social anxiety issues or lacks the recognition of facial and/or voice cues. Oxytocin comes as a nasal spray. Oxytocin does need to be prepared by a compounding pharmacy.

A compounding pharmacy is a pharmacy that buys these things in bulk and prepares them specially. Usually you dose Oxytocin once a day, maybe twice a day or even as needed situationally. You can give Oxytocin before going into a situation where your child has a problem with social anxiety. Those are the ways Oxytocin can be useful.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Liora Says:

    hi, Dr. Woeller

    What can you tell us about the connection to the oxytocin-autism connection? One puzzle piece about the autism mystery may be the routine and widespread use of Oxytocin in maternity care it seems?!

    Oxytocin and it’s relatives are used: as a suppository to ripen the cervix, Pitocin drip or “pit” to augment or induce contractions, the Pitocin Shot after baby emerges, to hasten Stage 3 of labor, clamp down the uterus, expel placenta

    THANK YOU! Liora in Beijing

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