Love feels good. Love feels so good that it is often warned against in the early stages of addiction treatment, especially addiction to opioid drugs. Love produces all kinds of chemicals and hormones in the brain. During the early of phases of treatment when the brain still isn’t quite functioning at capacity, love can become a little overwhelming to the point of becoming a need- a need so great it almost turns into a craving and can even act like an addiction. “Rehab romance” or romantic fraternizing between clients during treatment, is frowned upon because it can meddle the mind and get in the way of focusing on treatment.
However, new research suggests that a little bit of love could actually go a long way when it comes to opioid addiction treatment. More specifically, one group of researchers believe that the use of oxytocin could prevent opioid relapse. Relapse is a high risk for those in treatment and recovery for opioid addiction. Cravings are the most severe when opioid addiction is severe because of the intense way opioids change the way the brain manages pain and pleasure. Since love feels so good, the pleasurable effects of oxytocin could help in relapse prevention. Reporting on the research, Inverse cites one of the study’s authors who stated that the “findings in the review suggest the use of oxytocin, the pro-social hormone, could be an effective therapy for the prevention of relapse to drug use in drug-dependent individuals.” For the study, researchers looked at every available piece of existing research on oxytocin and made the revolutionary connection. “Research has shown that the oxytocin system is particularly affected by opioid use because of the role oxytocin plays in addiction,” the article explains. “Scientists believe that addictive behavior may indicate low levels of oxytocin.” Low levels of oxytocin can affect the way someone comprehends their social relations, how they bond with other people, manage stress, and interacts with memory. A lack of oxytocin could be the reason why so many addicts tend to share a feeling of being the odd man out or chronically separate from their peers. Unable to establish a feeling of connection with others can lead to isolation, which is a major red flag for relapse. Therefore, using oxytocin as a treatment method can encourage those feelings of connection, a greater sense of love and attachment, and a deeper desire to stay sober from opioids.
Avalon By The Sea offers transformational growth and change through dedicated treatment programs for opioid addiction. From detox to outpatient, we provide our clients with excellence in care from our beautiful estate on the California coast. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call us today at 1 888-958-7511.