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In recent years, male bonding has been depicted many times in the movies and on TV, usually in a humorous manner bordering on the ridiculous. Men are not expected to be emotionally open with each other. In actual fact however, new studies have shown that ‘bromances’ can lead to the same healthy effects as romantic relationships do.
The Hug Hormone
A study was conducted with male rats who were kept together in cages, immobilized for three hours. Water was taken away from them. At the end of three hours water was returned to the cages, and the rats’ behavior was observed. The rats were not aggressive towards each other, and shared the water. They also spent more time touching each other and huddling together. This is because the rats’ brains had higher levels of oxycontin.
Conversely in another experiment, the rats were sprayed with a solution containing fox urine. Foxes are natural predators of rats. In this case the rats turned aggressive and displayed none of the bonding behaviors of the rats in the first study. Their brains also showed lower levels of oxycontin.
Oxycontin is popularly referred to as the hug hormone, and is produced in the hypothalamus. It is associated with maternal behavior, and appears to play a role in encouraging individuals to reach out to others in the aftermath of a stressful event.
An experiment was conducted at Concordia University in Montreal where 100 students were given nasal sprays containing either oxycontin or a placebo. Then the students were subjected to situations where the researchers, posing as fellow students acted rudely towards them and ignored them. The participants were then asked to fill out a questionnaire on mood and personality. It was found that those participants who received the oxycontin spray reported a greater level of trust in other people, even after being rejected. The ones who received the placebo did not.
The Benefits of a Bromance
Increased levels of oxycontin has very real benefits for all individuals. For example:
A study conducted in 2012 found that fathers who received a nasal spray containing oxycontin bonded more closely with their babies.
An individual’s pain threshold can be raised if increased levels of oxycontin are present.
Oxycontin can lower the amount of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
Pop culture have made bromances laughable and absurd, but this is very far from the truth. A close friendship is a gift. Especially so in the environment of addiction recovery, where having a support system is invaluable in many ways.
If you are a young adult in need of support as you navigate your recovery, we have the resources to provide that to you. Blueprints has a number of programs that can be personalized to make your journey to recovery as effective as possible. Call us for more information.