• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Do Hormones Affect Human Behavior?

If you ever you cried during a sad film, experienced a rush of nervousness while giving a public speech, felt unconditionally happy out of the blue, ran abnormally fast away from a dog chasing you or even fell in love – Chances are that it was due to the release and inhibition of one or more hormones in your body.

What are Hormones?

Chemical substances that are usually secreted by the endocrine glands, released into the bloodstream and acts as a chemical messenger by bringing about chemical, physiological and psychological changes in the human body.

In the psychological aspect, it is important to point out that hormones do not directly cause a change in behaviour but affect the three behavioral systems in the human body: The sensory system, the central nervous system and the effectors like the muscles.

hormone and behaviour

Credit: flickr Alt tag : hormone and behaviour


Behavioural Endocrinology: The Bidirectional Relationship Between Hormones and Behaviour

The study of the effects of hormones on the behaviour of animals is known as Behavioural Endocrinology.

According to this, the relationship between hormones and behaviour is bidirectional. This means that either hormones trigger changes in behaviour or behaviour can trigger the secretion of hormones.

Sometimes, it could be a combination of the two.

A common example is when a person spots a wild dog barking and gets scared. As a result of the emotion, the excess adrenaline is produced and the person will start sprinting away from the dog.

Similarly, there are various types of hormones that affect and stimulate different feelings and behaviour of a human being. Hormone replacement therapy Houston can be used to help replenish hormone levels.

The following hormones affect human behaviour in the following way:

⦁ Estrogen

This hormone is significantly higher in females and has been linked to aggressive interactive behaviors in sexual terms and communication.

Estrogen is also responsible in the control serotonin receptors and can trigger mood swings, anxiety and impatience.

family

Caption:oxytocin causes attachment issues         Credit: pixabay


⦁ Oxytocin and vasopressin

They usually promote the feeling of positivity and optimism.

These hormones are commonly released into the body after sexual intercourse and promote a sense of bonding and togetherness between the two partners.

It is also found in relatively higher amounts among people who are in love and parents with young children. Thus, these hormones are also responsible for attachment issues.

⦁ Testosterone

This hormone is known to partially stimulate aggression and the need for power and dominance.

It is also known to arouse sex drive, increase motivation, competitiveness and self-esteem.

Levels of testosterone are comparatively found in higher levels in men than women.

aggressive man

Credit: Pxhere Caption: Aggressive nature due to testosterone


⦁ Dopamine

It is a hormone as well as a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain and affects the way we feel.

Dopamine is closely related to pleasure and happiness during events like eating tasty food, comfort and sexual activities.

Once this hormone is released, the body will usually encourage you to repeat the process again in order to feel that sense of pleasure again. This could trigger addiction or personal habits.

Usually when dopamine levels are extremely low, the person will experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, low sex drive and motivation.

⦁ Norepinephrine

This hormone is associated with alertness, arousal, speed and hyperactive behaviour, especially under stressful events.

It also helps the brain concentrate and focus. Low levels of norepinephrine could lead to ADHD and affect problem solving, comprehending actions and strategy planning.

euphoria

Credit: flickr Caption: feeling of euphoria due to release of endorphins


⦁ Endorphins

This hormone is mainly released during times of stress and pain. It relieves pain, promotes appetite, increases the levels of estrogen and testosterone, enhances reflex actions and creates a feeling of euphoria.

A happy side effect is that the person will often experience a “high” after the release of the hormones. This is why athletes enjoy the feeling they experience after vigorous exercise or workout.

Chocolates stimulating the body to release endorphins which is why people usually feel a sense of comfort while drinking hot chocolate.

⦁ Ghrelin

This hormone is derived in the stomach and is also known as the “hunger” hormone as it stimulates appetite and regulates the intake of foods and liquids.

It has also been linked to stimulate the production of other hormones related to psychological aspects, obesity and other eating disorders.

happy girl

Credit: hippopx Caption: Happiness due to the release of serotonin


⦁ Serotonin

It functions as a neurotransmitter and hormone that is widely present in the hindbrain and midbrain. It is involved in psychological processes like regulating pain, appetite, different moods and sexual activities.

This hormone is also responsible for mental disorders like addiction and schizophrenia.

Serotonin has different types of receptors in the brain but if these receptors undergo mutations, it causes low levels of serotonin in the brain which could lead to suicidal behavior and depression.

ADHD girl

Credit: flickr Caption : ADHD


⦁ Glutamate

It plays a role in the functioning of the central nervous systems and controls behaviours related to depression, mental alertness like ADHD and mood swings.

It could even trigger aggressive behaviour, anxiety, nervousness and other negative lookout problems.

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