For most couples, romantic jealousy is an inescapable part of their relationship. It is a powerful emotional experience that can upend perfectly stable bonds. A therapist will tell you there is no quick fix. But there is. Oxytocin, a hormone responsible for trust, empathy, social bonding, and generosity, among other things, can reduce jealousy when administered intranasally, according to new research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The finding can help save relationships. “It gives people a chance to explore the therapeutic value of oxytocin, which is particularly useful when the loss of trust is irremediable,” says Mumbai-based marriage and family therapist Archana Verma. “When transferred intranasally, the hormone bypasses the blood-brain barrier, moving straight to the striatum (a small group of contiguous subcortical structures), where its impacts motivated behaviours,” adds Verma.
Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel, carried out a similar study in 2009. She sums it up: “It (oxytocin) is an overall trigger for social sentiments: when the person's association is positive, oxytocin bolsters pro-social behaviours; when the association is negative, the hormone increases negative sentiments.”
This ‘direct’ transfer of the hormone as done intranasally influences the brain positively and promotes romantic closeness. Over time, one sees jealousy losing its grip. Feelings of hostility towards the ‘other’ man or woman also decrease.“Once you start feeling better, it is important to complement the treatment with talk therapy for sustained results. This can help you examine underlying behavioural issues.
A professional can explain the difference between normal and detrimental thinking, help you clear your thoughts and belief systems, and show you the triggers, in addition, to building better communication, identifying cognitive distortions that make you jealous, and offering simple strategies to regulate emotions,” says Verma.
While an oxytocin fix sounds worth giving a try, here is a word of caution. The positive effects of intranasal oxytocin transfer have been conducted in a controlled context until now. More study, research and experiments are required to see to what extent can this treatment protocol help, including pathological romantic jealousy, which is far more serious than a common person’s experience.
Cut the long story short
✥ Oxytocin is a hormone associated with trust, empathy, social bonding, and generosity, among other things
✥ It is produced naturally in the body
✥ Inlaying the synthetic form of the hormone resulted in people feeling selfless and considerate, thereby improving the quality of their relationship
✥ When administered intranasally, oxytocin bypasses the blood-brain barrier, carrying the hormone straight to the striatum where the hormone impacts motivated behaviour, thus reducing jealously among other things