Neurotransmitter role

Neurotransmitter role in drug addiction. Movement, cognition, pleasure and motivation are some of the roles played by dopamine

Neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: The rewards that trigger release of dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in different behaviors. The major behaviors dopamine affects are movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. Dopamine is an essential component of the basal ganglia motor loop, as well as the neurotransmitter responsible for controlling the exchange of information from one brain area to another. However, it is the role that dopamine plays in pleasure and motivation that attracts the most neurobiologists attention. That is why our discussion is focusing on dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction. However, for a better understanding of this topic, we are going to be relying on the expert opinion of doctor Dalal Akoury (MD) President and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center as well as Integrative Advanced Medicine Institute (IAM Institute).  The former is for treatment while the latter is tailored for training and equipping professionals in healthcare to offer an alternative treatment to their patients.

Did you know that in certain areas of the brain when dopamine is released, it gives one the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction? These feelings of satisfaction become desired causing the individual to grow a desire for the satisfaction. And satisfying that desire will necessitate the repeat behaviors causing the release of dopamine. For example food and sex release dopamine. That is why people want food even though their body does not need it and why people sometimes need sex. These two behaviors scientifically make sense since the body needs food to survive, and humans need to have sex to allow the race to survive. However, other, less natural behaviors have the same effect on one’s dopamine levels, and at times can even be more powerful.

Neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Cocaine

Cocaine is by far more addictive than other substances. Cocaine chemically inhibits the natural dopamine cycle. Normally, after dopamine is released, it is recycled back into a dopamine transmitting neuron. However, cocaine binds to the dopamine and does not allow it to be recycled. Thus there is a buildup of dopamine, and it floods certain neural areas. The flood ends after about 30 minutes, and the person is left yearning to feel as he or she once did. That is how the addiction begins and with time adaptation builds up since the person is consistently behaving in the same way.

Many studies have been done targeting neural response to rewards. It was established that when one performed an action repeatedly and is given a reward randomly, the dopamine levels rises. If the reward is administered for example every four times the action was performed, the dopamine levels remained constant. Whereas when no reward is given dopamine levels dropped. These random rewards can be seen in gambling and since the outcome is based on chance, one may not know prior if he or she will win. Therefore, if he or she wins, dopamine levels increases. However, unlike cocaine, gambling causes addiction in relatively low levels of participants. This is because Cocaine’s chemical input is influential on dopamine levels than gambling’s behavioral input meaning that only people whose dopamine levels are low become addicted to gambling. This may sound technical and complicated, but a phone call to doctor Akoury will make it much easier for you if only you can schedule an appointment today.

Neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: The rewards that trigger release of dopamine