Is oxytocin an effective treatment for depression and bipolar

Hi M_demarest, In a nutshell,

Hi M_demarest,

In a nutshell, not at this time. There has been limited research on oxytocin as a treatment for depression, but much more needs to be done. As for bipolar disorder, I don't know of any clinical trials as of yet testing it for this disorder.

I would imagine it will be quite some time before they have enough conclusive studies to determine whether or not oxytocin can be used to effectively treat depression. As for bipolar disorder, if oxytocin is shown to be effective for depression, a mood stabilizer (e.g. lithium, Depakote) would still most likely be needed to reduce the risk of manic episodes.

In the meantime, psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective types) is usually the best long term treatment for depression (with the addition of antidepressant medication if indicated). As for bipolar disorder, psychotherapy is also an important part of treatment as it helps an individual learn good coping skills and ways to best manage the disorder. Medication is usually indicated long term for bipolar disorder in order to reduce the risk of manic episodes.

Dr. Lane

 
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