A research team from the University of Queensland in Australia has developed a new synthetic version of oxytocin, which may be used to treat mental health disorders like schizophrenia and anxiety without the risk of side effects. Researchers believe that being a naturally occurring hormone that acts as the brain’s neurotransmitter, oxytocin has the ability to bind with multiple receptors to impact anxiety and stress levels, social interactions and maternal care.
Currently, oxytocin is being used to increase contractions during labor. However, doctors are hesitant in using oxytocin as it may have some adverse effects like heart problems in case of extended use or high doses. According to lead researcher Dr. Markus Muttenthaler, the hormone could activate multiple receptors, resulting in undesirable side effects, such as cardiovascular problems or uterine rupture if overused. “The new compound we have developed is just as potent as oxytocin, but shows improved selectivity for the oxytocin receptor, potentially reducing dangerous side effects,” said Muttenthaler.
The research findings, which were published in the journal Science Signaling, suggested that the synthetic version of oxytocin didn’t activate heart muscle cells and created a consistent contraction pattern in the uterine tissue, which was a sign of safety for both mother and child. When the researchers treated rats with the compound, they discovered that the mice were able to overcome social fear quicker than those who weren’t administered the hormone.
Emphasizing that the new compound gives hope for future treatments, Muttenthaler, along with his colleagues, has been trying to improve its drug properties and has plans to conduct more extensive studies for the purpose. “We hope to receive sufficient funding to improve the drug properties of this lead and conduct more extensive preclinical studies,” he said.
Managing symptoms of schizophrenia
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly 21 million people struggle with schizophrenia across the globe. According to the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA), nearly 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia and it is one of the leading causes of disability. Studies indicate that 25 percent of individuals with schizophrenia recover completely, while 50 percent are able to get improved over a 10-year period.
Schizophrenia is a nerve-racking mental health condition, exerting an adverse impact on the way individuals perceive things, react and act, making them feel detached from the real world. It disrupts emotional responsiveness, destroys perceptions and disturbs thought processes, pushing victims into dangerous levels of mental and behavioral crises. Besides a wide range of health problems, schizophrenia patients are known to experience, severe episodes of depression, difficulties in concentration, dissociative disorders and irregular behavioral patterns.
Currently, there are primarily three main medical interventions for managing symptoms of schizophrenia, which include psychosocial treatments, antipsychotic medications and coordinated specialty care (CSC). However, the key to ensuring successful treatment outcomes is to combine these three interventions to help patients manage the symptoms and reduce the likelihood of a relapse.
Moreover, educating patients about the symptoms, causes and consequences of the condition are vital to deal with the problem effectively. Additionally, considering some time-tested self-care methods, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, getting adequate sleep and eating healthy food can minimize the symptoms of schizophrenia and transform lives for people battling the condition.
When wondering where to start with finding help for schizophrenia, one needn’t look further than Sovereign Health to avail the latest treatment options at our reputed residential treatment centers for schizophrenia. Our licensed mental health specialists use multiple time-tested approaches to address each underlying problem. Our treatment programs for schizophrenia cater to individual needs to treat a person holistically. Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online for more information about our state-of-the-art schizophrenia treatment centers.