The word 'stress', as it is commonly known, is generally referred to any factor that affects the physical, physiological and emotional well being of an individual. Stress, as we all know, has ramified into various sections of our society, affecting the young and the old alike.
Although it has been argued that normal levels of stress may be beneficial, its implications, especially on health, are many. During stress, an important hormone, cortisol, is secreted by the adrenal glands. Despite its other functions, it is widely known as the 'stress hormone'.
Beate Ditzen, a psychologist at Emory University, Atlanta, USA, reported that the level of cortisol, which increased during stress, plummeted in patients administered with oxytocin, a hormone, which plays an important role during childbirth.
Oxytocin, also plays a role in social life, bonding people, and facilitates the release of dopamine, which is responsible for a feeling of wellness and excitement. This feature of Oxytocin has been put to use by the researchers in countering stress.
Ditzen was addressing the International Congress of Neuroendocrinology, at the University of Pittsburgh medical center, on Tuesday. She added that, researchers are confident that they are well on the path leading to a breakthrough in handling stress and conflicts.
Although the oxytocin hormone, administered as a nasal spray, could be a boon to warring couples, the researchers were nowhere near discovering a 'wonder' drug that would be a harbinger of marital harmony.