Chemical seduction: How ‘love drugs’ may one day help couples save failing relationships

The National Post

Future love drugs are not fairy tale romance potions slipped to the object of your affection: These pharmaceutical concoctions would chemically alter the brain to promote intimacy, feelings of closeness and openness, and would be designed for use in a controlled, couples’ therapy setting.

They’re already being developed and tested in the form of a nasal spray, to send the drugs directly to the brain.

Oxytocin and vasopressin — both hormones secreted by the pituitary gland that play roles in sexual reproduction, social bonding and empathy building — are being studied for the production of love drugs.

Researchers in the early 1990s found oxytocin released into the brains of female prairie voles during sexual activity helped them form a monogamous bond to their sexual partners. Vasopressin appeared to bring the same result in male voles. But when those hormones are blocked, the prairie voles don’t create that bond.

In one study, Swiss researchers showed that nasally inhaled oxytocin can reduce stress levels and promote more positive communication between arguing couples.

There is also evidence from its clinical use in the 1980s that MDMA promoted “enhanced” communication during couples’ therapy.

Australian couples’ therapist Adam Guastella sees it all the time: that “repetitive loop” of talking around the problem at the heart of their marital struggle, anything to avoid facing it head-on.

“Therapists are always waiting for an ‘a-ha’ moment, and we try lots of things to create [it],” said the clinical psychologist and principal research fellow at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Already an internationally recognized researcher for his discovery of how oxytocin, a neurologically-driven hormone, promotes emotional understanding in youth with autism, Dr. Guastella had read with interest about oxytocin’s recent branding as a “love hormone” and, likely in a few years time, a “love drug” — a future life preserver for relationships on the rocks.

And so he ran a study: Over a three-week period, 40 Australian couples took a hit of oxytocin (or a placebo) through a nasal spray before starting couples’ therapy.

The results aren’t yet published, but the data show that with the help of oxytocin, that repetitive loop breaks — couples recall memories with more emotion and detail, they appear more open to the other person’s perspective, the fractured bond begins to rebuild, Dr. Guastella said.

“If we can make it so that an ‘a-ha’ moment occurs, it’s going to save a lot of heartbreak, a lot of hostility between couples.”

It’s a seductive idea — that somewhere in the near future failing marriages and partnerships can be rescued by manipulating our brains to keep us from falling out of love.

continued at http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/0...-day-help-couples-save-failing-relationships/
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I actually wrote a paper on the benefits of psilocybin mushrooms - principally referencing a JH study on the subject from a couple years ago. But while I agree that it can be very helpful, a bad trip can just as well destroy someone's life if they're not strong (I've had bad trips, but, hmm, I do consider myself pretty fortified). We just don't know that much about how it works to really be sure that someone won't bug out. That said, low doses will just about always be safe if previous mental screening is done, a desirable setting is available, and the person is willing and honest about their issues.
 
I see this as a bad thing. If a couple falls out of love, they shouldn't be given chemicals to make them think they're still in love. As soon as the shit wears off, they're back at square one.
 
I cannot express how magical an impact MDMA made on my previous relationship. It promoted a level of closeness that I have never experienced before, and neither had she. It allowed us to talk about things that both of us were too shy to share with the other, as we had only months before fallen in love - and I believe it helped build a solid bond between us. I have never experienced such an intense feeling of love and euphoria and happiness and utter utter integration with a person, specifically a partner, like I did on MDMA.

I think it would be very useful for couples therapy and helping resolve underlying issues, the shit that doesn't get talked about that eventually destroys what once was a good relationship. I don't know if you could find a more effective chemical for such a purpose.
 
"oxytocin released into the brains of female prairie voles during sexual activity helped them form a monogamous bond to their sexual partners."

I liked this part.
 
severely etarded;11455152 said:
This is a great step in the right direction!

how is this possibly good?

These can get into the wrong hands and be used as date rape drugs - worst case scenario.

Best case scenario - they perpetuate romantic relationships that aren't meant to be - there's a reason relationships don't work - they're meant to teach us something, so we can move on, and deal with people better, find people we are closer to NATURALLY.

Ok maybe that's not the best and it COULD help couples - but I think that's a very slippery slope - manipulating the brain's chemistry to feel closer to someone you're having troubles with - there's a reason they don't feel closer, there's a reason they're experiencing problems - they need to work it out, not be drugged. If they CAN'T work it out by themselves, or with a mediator without totally changing the way they're feeling - at least with MDMA it just breaks down negative instead of tricking the brain into feeling something that isn't real.

Fucking pharmaceutical companies...grrr....why can't they just stick to stuff that already exists. Someone mentioned MDMA - yeah well give it time and that will be legal, so they're really just fucking with things they have no business sticking their noses into.

This will prolong miserable coupling, just to make the drug companies some big bucks. I'm fucking sick of that story.

Tude;11456481 said:
I see this as a bad thing. If a couple falls out of love, they shouldn't be given chemicals to make them think they're still in love. As soon as the shit wears off, they're back at square one.
Hear, hear.

I mean fucking check this out -
It’s a seductive idea — that somewhere in the near future failing marriages and partnerships can be rescued by manipulating brains to keep us from falling out of love.
This is not good.
 
TBH opiates are way more of a "love drug" for me. Back when I was in a long relationship (before being a junkie) the occasional morphine or oxy pill would have me acting like motherfucking Romeo

Rolls.... Too hyper to cuddle

While constantly being stoned to "love" someone is obviously a horrible idea, using just once and never again to merely re-spark feelings that have maybe been blocked by everyday stress etc is beneficial for everyone. People are dicks, sometimes you just need a little helper to break through the faggotry
 
I disagree with the pessimism expressed above. It is possible for relationships to be falsely extended, but it is also possible for them to be falsely shortened. How many of them end because of a lack of effective communication? I think couples at least deserve the chance to get to know one another profoundly. MDMA facilitates deep communication and multi-dimensional empathy, and that's a good thing for any couple--even a happy one!
 
"Australian couples’ therapist Adam Guastella sees it all the time: that “repetitive loop” of talking around the problem at the heart of their marital struggle, anything to avoid facing it head-on."

In the middle of a repetitive loop relationship with kids and indeed no drugs like mdma once in a while. It seems harder and harder to talk from the heart from one to another. You just fall back into the cycle of negativety speaking so easily riding on past events.

So yes this would seem like a good option to get to talk to one another, a social lubricant aimed at bonding partners. Go for it I will be waiting.
 
Tons of drugs cause higher oxitocin activity. Actually, almost all drugs do, somewhere downstream I guess. We all know how taking drugs together can strengthen bonds, even coke does. Unfortunately it seems most chronic drug users have decreased oxitocin activity in consequence. Can't find the studies I'm referring to right now...
 
And I agree - This is both good and bad. I look at it as a symptom of our failing modern western culture. On the other hand, if we don't work on the cause for our failures, I guess it's better to work on the symptoms than not work on it at all, right? :D

Then again, I don't think there's gonna be any better bonding drug than MDMA anytime soon. So what are they looking for? A daily fix-my-marriage pill? One in the morning, one at night? Lol that's so dystopian.
 
i disagree with this..... i think that the use of drugs such as mdma will only serve to create artificial and temporary feelings of "love" if two people really care about each other than they should not need ecstasy to feel those feelings.... believe me i have fallen in love overnight under the influence and sure it was fun but it wasn't real... i guess this feels wrong to me and i realize couples will go through rough patches but i dont believe mdma is the answer and if the only way for a person to connect with their significant other is with mdma than the relationship is probably not worth saving
 
There are things hidden so deep in some people that they may never be discovered, even after decades of marriage. This is not because the person tries to hide it; it's because communication is very imperfect. Often one does not know how to speak, or how to listen.

I've never started a relationship because of MDMA. I have started friendships due to MDMA. Very deep friendships, undergirded by an experience much more unifying than sex can ever be.
 
I found oxytocin nasal spray online, but am a bit reluctant to try it. I imagine it would produce some type of depression when stopped.
 
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