Karolinska study: hormone spray can help cure social phobia

Swedish and British researchers have found that a nasal spray with the hormone oxytocin can relieve social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder.

“It looks very promising. Many say that oxytocin can help those who suffer from social phobia,” said Predag Petrovic, a researcher in clinical neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Oxytocin is a hormone which is released during breast feeding, childbirth, and massage, and which strengthens the connection between individuals.

Those who suffer from social phobia often feel anxiety when meeting other people.

In the new study, which is published in the Journal of Neuroscience, trial subjects were shown images of faces, and some images were combined with a weak electric shock.

People in the group who then received a dose of oxytocin via nasal spray feel no discomfort when they were once again shown the images.