Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Risk and reward that trigger for the release of dopamine

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction must never be ignored since it forma part of finding the solution

Dopamine is neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in a variety of 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. And that is why our discussion is focusing on dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction in this article. We would appreciate if you can stay with us on the link so that together we can learn and take action where necessary in order to defeat addiction. Nonetheless for a better understanding of this topic, we are going to be relying on the expert opinion of doctor Dalal Akoury (MD) who is also the founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center. This is a facility that she founded primarily to make a difference in the life of people who are suffering from the various forms of drug addiction which is very rampant in the current societies we live in.

For better understanding of this point doctor Dalal Akoury says 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, and the person will grow a desire for the satisfaction. To satisfy that desire the person will repeat behaviors that cause 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. Often these behaviors can result in addiction due to their effect on dopamine, and that addiction can have negative effects on a person’s well-being.

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Cocaine

Cocaine is by far the more severe in relation to other substances in terms of addiction. 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 due to the fact that the person is consistently behaving in the same way that he or she had the first time. However, the individual cannot, because dopamine is also released when something pleasurable yet unexpected occurs. During the first time, the person expects the effect, thus less dopamine is released, and the experience is less satisfying. This cause explains why gambling releases dopamine.

Many studies have been done which targeted neural response to rewards. The findings were in agreement 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 much more influential on dopamine levels than gambling’s behavioral input meaning that only people whose dopamine levels are low, become addicted to gambling.

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Variance in dopamine levels

This is may be due to genetics, environment related or a combination of factors. A study concluded that pathological gamblers most often experienced traumatizing experiences when they were younger. Since most people who became addicted to gambling have low dopamine levels, and also that same group usually has endured a traumatic experience, it was concluded the overall dopamine levels can change due to environmental factors. This supports the opinion that both the mind and the brain can change due to environmental factors. However in yet another study it was established that a gene related to dopamine is sported twice as often in pathological gamblers than non-gamblers. To this effect, doctor Akoury says that this view seems to supports the observation that dopamine levels are genetic. We can therefore come up with two possible observations. Either both genetics and environmental factors affects ones brain anatomy and mind simultaneously, or that environmental factors can affect genes which in turn affect ones brain and mind.

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Why is risk and reward a trigger for the release of dopamine?

It’s scientifically logical that sex and food release dopamine, because they are essential for the life of human beings. Risk and reward are not.  It is believed that everything happens for a reason; meaning, there must be a scientific explanation for the increase of dopamine levels as a result of risk and reward. Like for instance the human race is different from other species on this planet not only by its ability to reason, but also its ability to create and be innovative. Therefore nature dictates that humans are creative and innovative, and for this to happen a person should have some level of satisfaction when one accomplishes an innovation. Doctor Akoury agrees that for one to accomplish an innovation he/she must take certain risks. It is risky to try to do something that no other being on earth has ever accomplished. Therefore, there must be a reward other than material that one gets when he or she accomplishes the innovation, otherwise that person would not take the risk. The reward here is the release of dopamine and the feeling of satisfaction. The problem with this process is that not only can one be satisfied after a major risk and accomplishment, but that one can also be satisfied through constant minute risks and accomplishments.

The feeling of satisfaction that dopamine exhibits are so strong that one can often lose his or her ability to reason in order to achieve satisfaction. It is that unconscious state of mind that takes over and begins to make certain decisions. The brain develops neural circuits that unconsciously assess reward. Since dopamine plays an active role in these circuits, people will act in what they think is in their best interest, when in fact the only interest it satisfies is the release of dopamine. This can be exemplified in gambling where one insists on gambling even though he or she knows that the odds are against them. Finally we appreciate that there is a lot of scientific explanations in this topic which may not be very clear to many people and if you are one of them then we are more than ready at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center to listen and help you be on the know. All you have to do is to call doctor Dalal Akoury (MD) who is also the founder of the facility for an appointment and all your concerns will be addressed professionally.

Dopamine the neurotransmitter role in drug addiction: Risk and reward that trigger for the release of dopamine

 

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