Impaired interpersonal functioning is a core feature of borderline, schizotypal, and avoidant personality disorders characterized by abnormal social information processing; however, pharmacologic treatments targeting social cognition are currently lacking. Oxytocin is a novel treatment for social cognitive abnormalities that has yielded promising preliminary results in the autism spectrum, social anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. Here, we describe the main components of social cognition and review the biology of the oxytocinergic system and the hypothesized models and mechanisms through which exogenous oxytocin modulates social cognition. We then review the studies on the effect of oxytocin administration on social cognition and their application to the treatment of personality disorders. We also review the preliminary evidence supporting the use of oxytocin as an adjunct to non-pharmacologic interventions. Finally, we describe the main challenges that need to be addressed to be able to use oxytocin effectively in clinical populations.
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Schizotypal personality disorder
- Social anxiety
- Social cognition
- Social cognitive remediation