Washington: Love hormone has a dark side! The fuzzy, warm hormone oxytocin, long known to promote feelings of love, social bonding and well-being, can also cause emotional pain, by strengthening bad memories and increasing fear and anxiety, a new study has claimed. Oxytocin appears to be the reason stressful social situations, perhaps being bullied at school or tormented by a boss, reverberate long past the event and can trigger fear and anxiety in the future.That`s because the hormone actually strengthens social memory in one specific region of the brain, researchers from Northwestern University in the US have found. If a social experience is negative or stressful, the hormone activates a part of the brain that intensifies the memory. Oxytocin also increases the susceptibility to feeling fearful and anxious during stressful events going forward. The research, which was done in mice, is particularly relevant because oxytocin currently is being tested as an anti-anxiety drug in several clinical trials.
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