Oxytocin and Male Bonding
The bromance – a less awkward, and somewhat touching, way to describe platonic friendship between two men – has been observed by sociologists and scientists for deeper understanding. Researchers from the University of California, Berkely, found that male rats don’t normally get aggressive with each other when water rations ran short; they shared, conserved, and even huddled together for hours. During this time, the rats’ brains also contained higher levels of oxytocin, aka the “anti-stress hormone.” When urine was sprayed in the cage, all the rats’ oxytocin levels plummeted, and they quickly stopped bonding and started fighting. Their withdrawn, aggressive behavior appeared similar to that of PTSD sufferers, which supports existing hypotheses that oxytocin helps PTSD symptoms.
Oxytocin and Male Bonding
Many addiction specialists believe high oxytocin is the key to reaching out after a stressful event.
Some years later, another set of researchers from a different university conducted a similar experiment, this one on humans. 100 male test subjects were given a nasal spray containing either oxytocin or a placebo. They were then subjected to situations in which they were socially rejected.
The participants weren’t just playing along; the researchers actually tricked them by posing as fellow students and acting rudely toward, interrupting, or ignoring them. Afterward, the students filled out a questionnaire about mood and personality. Those who received the oxytocin spray reported greater levels of trust in others.
A support system is endlessly valuable, in whatever form it may come – not just for addicts, but for everyone.
Bromances, as well as the female equivalent, provide a sense of security that friendships between two different genders (not necessarily sexes) cannot offer. You can laugh at the idea of bromances, but tight friendships are undeniably a gift – in which most men partake, despite mocking it. We often forget how important these relationships are to us until those friends are needed in times of strife.
During addiction recovery, having a valued and reliable friend to lean on is invaluable and sometimes means the difference between success and failure. A solid friendship between men is one of camaraderie and mutual benefit, perhaps a lingering survival tactic from the days when men hunted in packs for the benefit of the entire tribe. Having a close friendship with a buddy that can support you when you’re cleaning up your life is an important and valuable treasure that should be sought after and protected when found.
Your best guy-friend may not be here, but a lot of potential great ones are—we promise. If you’re struggling with addiction, we can help you. At Blueprints, you’ll meet lots of people, make lots of friends, and feel right at home. For more information, call (888) 744-9969.