Love Hormone Injections For Autistics?

Should Autistics Be Injected With A Sex Hormone?

A recent news article in the London’s free paper ‘The Metro,’ states that children with autism could soon be injected with the sex hormone Oxytocin to ‘enable them to interact with others.’ According to ‘The Metro’, the hormone oxytocin or ‘cuddle chemical’ usually released during an orgasm, has been found to help adults with autism.

Scientists have stated that when the hormone oxytocin is injected into adults with autism, the hormone improves their ability to recognize emotion in people’s voices. Each injection has been reported to last for a fortnight.

US scientist Dr Eric Hollander believes if administered to children, oxytocin’s effects could be even stronger and hormone expert, Dr Narkus Heinrichs, said:

 ‘I’m absolutely convinced we should study administering oxytocin when there is an early diagnosis of autism.’

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In my opinion the very idea of subjecting young autistic children to this painful intrusive medical procedure is totally barbaric, especially as early diagnosis could mean children under the age of five. I would question why any parent would feel the need for this kind of intervention which is still in the experimental stages, after all this hormone is often referred to as the ‘cuddle chemical’, ‘the hormone of love’ and ‘the trust potion’. One website says:

The chemical, oxytocin, is a natural brain hormone thought to be linked to bonding, social attachment and, some scientists believe, love. It is also the key ingredient in a “trust potion” that researchers developed recently: when people sniffed it, they temporarily became more trusting.”

Bearing this in mind, is this really an appropriate treatment for young autistic children? In my opinion it is an excuse for scientists, big pharma and the medical profession to pimp our kids for financial gain. The mere idea makes me extremely uncomfortable indeed.

Oxytocin is nicknamed the ‘cuddle chemical’ for a reason. Children with autism are already vulnerable; many are unable to understand emotion and the difference between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior. If they are pumped full of oxytocin they could become easy prey for pedophiles and child abuse. This drug like so many others has already found its way onto the black market which makes it an ideal drug for pedophiles to use inappropriately.

In an article by Susan E. Barker entitled ‘Cuddle hormone’ Research links oxytocin and socio-sexual behaviors,’ she speaks of her concerns. Barker says that assistant professor of psychology Diane Witt’s work is suggesting that oxytocin, sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” because of its influence on maternal behavior and pair bonding, may be tied to such pressing socio-sexual problems as eating disorders, pedophilia, and child abuse and neglect.

Interestingly, Dr Judith Reisman president of the Institute for Media Education and author of Kinsey, Sex and Fraud (1990); Soft Porn Plays Hardball (1991); and the explosive 1998 exposé Kinsey: Crimes & Consequence, is currently on tour giving presentations which includes her research on Oxytocin. She has allowed me to use words from one of her slides included in her powerpoint presentation. The slide states:

Now a Pedophile/Pederast Drug of Choice: “Sex hormone…..Aimed at Autistic Children”

“Oxytocin is Released During Orgasm”

A ‘cuddle chemical’ released during orgasms could help treat autism…..(for) children, oxytocin’s effects could be even stronger …..” Yet another “scientist,” “I am absolutely convinced we should study oxytocin when there is early diagnosis of autism.”

Oxytocin – released during sex and childbirth – is believed to link social contact with feelings of pleasure, helping to build trust. It is the ‘glue of society – so simple yet so profound“, said Dr Paul Zak, director of the Centre for Neuroeconomics in California.

Dr Reisman wants parents of autistic children to consider this point.

If 2% of priests have molested children what percentage of doctors and “scientists” have molested children?

She has a point but I wanted to get the viewpoint of an expert using the drug. In my quest to find out more I spoke to Dr Kenneth P Stoller who was trained as a pediatrician at UCLA and was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics for two decades. Dr Stoller said that as a physician, he first came to learn about oxytocin in his work with brain-injured patients where it was used to mitigate the anxiety issues they often contend with. His primary focus at this time was using oxytocin with children living with cerebral palsy, as well as environmental encephalitic syndrome which he says is often called autism.

Dr Stoller told me that oxytocin isn’t always administered by injection; it can also be given as a nasal spray or in tablet form.

Stoller told me that over time, he came to discover the profound potential for healing that oxytocin offers related to many of the great ailments of our time—including mental illness, addictions, sexual dysfunction, cancer, and grief.

Dr Stoller has had first hand knowledge of just how effective this drug can be. After a personal tragedy it had helped him overcome tremendous grief, fear and panic that he felt coping with the tragic loss of his son. His son had sadly been killed in a train accident in 2007. He told me that it was at this time that he discovered the effectiveness of the hormone oxytocin in treating pathological grief.

Describing his feelings at the time, he said:

This collection of fear, anxiety, and panic took on a life of its own, as if it were a separate thought-stream that I had no control of. It was suffocating and debilitating.

Although I had become adept at using oxytocin for treating fear and anxiety in children on the autism spectrum, it took me over three weeks after my son passed until I had the idea that it might help me too. I was so far down the rabbit hole of grief that I could feel a circadian miasm, of sorts. Let me explain. There are periods each day—the hour before sun-up and the hour after sundown—that the ancients acknowledged as being especially potent times. They referred to the hour before sunrise as “the hour of the wolf” and the hour after sunset as the bewitching hour. On mornings when I was sleeping during that pre-dawn period (the hour of the wolf), I would experience most distressing and horrible nightmares. When someone is already in a state of distress, panic and fear can be greatly intensified in these hours.

After I squirted oxytocin (as a nasal spray) it took about ten minutes to experience the full effect, and with each passing minute a great sense of emotional equanimity took place. The panic and fear dropped away from me as if I were shedding clothing. If I wanted to think about my son’s train accident, I could. But the moment I didn’t want to think about it, the accident faded into the background of my mind. It wasn’t there hammering away at me as if it had a life of its own. By successfully diverting these negative feelings from wherever they would have taken me, I was able to process my grief without the interference of negative obsessions. This was invaluable, to say the very least, and kept me from developing severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)…because that was certainly where I was headed.”

This certainly gives a new slant to the uses and flexibility of this hormone however, I personally still worry about it being given to autistic children at such an early stage of the brains development, Do we really understand what autistic children are feeling and seeing? I have read some amazing statements from autistic children and what they say varies from person to person, One account was one I gave in an article I wrote in 2010 called ‘Autistic Girl Uses Laptop to Break Silence.’ I wrote about how an autistic girl using her laptop was able to break her silence for the first time.

Here suddenly was the breakthrough that scientists had been waiting for. Suddenly, a previously wild and mute autistic child was able to describe in perfect English exactly what she was feeling. What she described was shocking and heart wrenching:

You don’t know what it feels like to be me, when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire, or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms.

What do I want? I want to be like every other kid but I can’t because I am Carly.”

Then she described why she banged her head, she wrote-

Because if I don’t it feels like my body will explode, it is like when you shake a can of coke. If I could stop it I would but it is not like turning off a switch.”

Is this the type of panic that could be helped by Oxytocin as Dr Stoller suggests or do we still have so much to learn? I worry that autistic children are being judged as weird and not normal. I worry that doctors, scientists and even parents are trying to change the way autistic children behave, to make them fit in with the social norms, to suit society. This may not be right for the child and is sometimes done with little thought of how these treatments may affect them in the long term especially given the extensive list of possible side effects. On the website RxList – The Internet Drug Index states:

What are the possible side effects of oxytocin (Pitocin)?

Side effects with oxytocin are not common. Serious side effects include:

  • an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of the throat; hives; swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; rash; or fainting);
  • difficulty urinating;
  • chest pain or irregular heart beat;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • confusion;
  • sudden weight gain or excessive swelling;
  • severe headache;
  • rash;
  • excessive vaginal bleeding; or
  • seizures.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience

  • redness or irritation at the injection site;
  • loss of appetite; or
  • nausea or vomiting.

Given these facts as a parent of two autistic sons I would question in whose interest is this treatment really for? I feel there are already too many medications and vaccines being given to children with sexual undertones without adding injections of sex hormones to the list. We currently have several vaccines being given to exceptionally young children for sexually transmitted diseases. See <

I for one feel uncomfortable with these developments.

It seems to me that too much emphasis is put on how autistic children should act and behave. Doctors and scientists are trying to find ways to make autistic children act in a stereotypical way instead of allowing them to be the wonderful unique people they are. Why should an autistic child be made to act in a way that is alien to who they are just because the world dictates that they conform to what is seen to be the social norm? This drug could give what is known to many as a false positive. It may make an autistic child act in the desired way but without any knowledge or understanding of what they are feeling or indeed the consequences of their actions.

I am very troubled by Dr Hollander making claims about a new treatment and wishing to use recently discovered neurochemicals on children. After all reducing anxiety could mean reducing the innate protective mechanisms that could save a child’s life.

Overall, whilst I appreciate that this hormone is useful and effective in treating patients suffering from various degrees of mental illness including panic, these patients are able to adequately describe what they are feeling as Dr Stoller demonstrated. I feel that for these patients oxytocin is an ideal and safe option to anti psychotic medication. However, I feel using oxytocin on vulnerable very young autistic children could be very risky and therefore in my opinion a mistake.


Photo Credit: Kainr

About the author

Christina England, BA Hons