Tag Archives: Neurotransmitter


Neurotransmitter role in drug addiction

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





Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking

Mesolimbic pathways

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking. We’ve got to clean our mind from all intoxication of drug addiction

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

From our basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brain’s reward system in the previous postings, we can interrogate it a little bit further in several ways. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathways which are located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathways is an area called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to the nucleus accumbens (thought to be the reward center). The neurotransmitter most commonly linked with the mesolimbic system is dopamine. Many people consider dopamine to be the driving force behind the human pursuit of pleasure. The release of dopamine is a pleasurable sensation. The release of dopamine motivates us to repeat behaviors or activities that prompted this release. This system’s purpose was to promote survival by rewarding life-sustaining behaviors such eating and procreation.

All addictive drugs and activities release varying amounts of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens with stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine releasing the most. However, when it comes to drugs like alcohol or heroin, the brain’s own opiate system (endorphins) also gets involved. Doctor Akoury further says that even though different forms of addictions have different effects in the nucleus accumbens, they share one common denominator that they all activate the reward system which in turn motivates us to repeat those behaviors, even though they may be harmful. Besides what we have discussed about the concepts of reward, pleasure, and craving together, it is however very important to appreciate that there is a distinction between pleasure-seeking and drug seeking. Note that pleasure-seeking is all about the pleasurable, rewarding aspect of addiction while drug-seeking refer to the craving aspect of addiction. Dopamine may be more involved in drug-seeking (craving) component of addiction. The opiate (endorphin), GABA, or glutamatergic systems may be more involved in a pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Keeping the brain free from all attacks

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are interrelated, yet distinct. Research has established that natural rewards (food, water, sex) typically lessen their influence on the reward system over time. As a behavior occurs more often, dopamine levels tend to decrease in the process. Psychologists call this habituation. This makes sense. Once you’ve eaten enough food, you don’t need to be rewarded for eating more food. Then you would be eating too much, or too much of one type of food. Therefore everyone needs to take heed of keeping the brain free from all attacks be it from substances or otherwise. Talking to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury should be your starting point. Call and make that appointment today for the commencement of your journey to full recovery from your addiction.

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain






Behavioral Addiction and Brain Function

Neurons signals and addiction

Neurons signals

Neurons signals and addiction. In fact, neurons are the primary communication unit of the brain and must not be contaminated with drugs

Neurons signals and addiction: The brain chemistry

The neuron is the primary unit of communication within the brain. A single neuron is extremely tiny. Experts are estimating that there are over 100 billion neurons in the human brain. With that, you can imagine just how complex and distinct your brain is from the person next to you. And because good communication is of two ways where we both listen (receive information) and at the same time we also speak (send information). The same is applicable to the brain’s communication system with the neurons having the ability to both send and receive communication signals. The dendrite is the portion of neuron signals that typically receives information (listens) while the axon is a portion of the neuron signals that sends out information (speaks).

Neurons signals and addiction: Neurotransmitters

When humans communicate with each other, we typically use words and gestures. The different parts of the brain communicate with each other using electrical signals. Neurons use electrical pulses to send their communication signals. These electrical impulses are called action potentials. When neuron fire, the action potential travels down the neuron’s axon where it ends. At the end of the axon is the axon terminal or pre-synapse. In this area, special chemical messengers called neurotransmitters and neuromodulators lay in wait. These are stored in specialized capsules called vesicles. The action potential causes the release of these chemical messengers into an open space between one neuron’s axon and the next neurons’ dendrites. This open space is the synaptic cleft. At the other side of the synaptic cleft is the post-synapse that is formed by the dendrites of connecting neurons. In the post-synapse, there are special receptors that receive the neurotransmitters.

Receptors and neurotransmitters function in a way that is similar to a keyhole and key. Receptors are like keyholes and neurotransmitters are like the keys. When neurotransmitters fit into the receptors it is called binding. Once a neurotransmitter is bound to a receptor, the key turns the lock. Once the lock opens, it communicates with the receiving neuron’s dendrites. In the post-synapse, there may be many different receptors (many different shaped keyholes). However, a particular neurotransmitter may be able to fit into (bind to) several different receptors types. This is similar to the way a single key can open several different locks. The particular receptor type determines the type of signal that is transmitted. Thus, the receptor type is often more critical to the communication than the particular neurotransmitter.

It may be easiest to visualize this communication as a single chain of events: First, a neuron sends an electrical impulse (action potential) down the axon. Next, the electrical impulse causes chemicals (neurotransmitters and neuromodulators) to be released into space between two neurons. Then these chemicals can signal the next neuron to send an electrical impulse and so on. This electrochemical process forms the brain’s communication system. In conclusion, it is evident that the functions of the brain in communication are very sensitive and any alteration caused by drugs addiction can have far-reaching effects. Therefore before we get there, we must do all it takes to prevent or correct as soon as it is necessary. For this reason, it will be prudent that you schedule an appointment with doctor Dalal Akoury MD a veteran addiction expert who is also the founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center for the commencement of your addiction recovery process.

Neurons signals and addiction: The brain chemistry




Dopamine Rush

Well balanced neurotransmitters

Well balanced neurotransmitters

Well balanced neurotransmitters is a serious need for every one.

Well balanced neurotransmitters: The threats of the imbalance

A well balanced neurotransmitters is a serious need for everyone. This must be done timely if we want to have a healthy life. To understand this better, we spoke to doctor Dalal Akoury MD President and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center about this to get some answers. In her decades of experience in medicine, doctor Akoury is registering that neurotransmitter imbalances can actually cause problems in very many ways including those relating to moods, memory, addictions, energy, libido and sleep. As we progress into the discussion, doctor Akoury is posing some question to you to help you re-evaluate your position.

  • Do you have any area of your life where you feel you don’t have control over?
  • Are you a shopaholic, chocoholic, caffeine addict, or worse?
  • And finally do you get depressed for no good reason, feel overwhelmed by life, have trouble falling asleep, or are you harboring negative thoughts that you just can’t shake?

Did I speak your mind? It is important to note that if you answer yes to any of these questions, then it’s very possible that you have a neurotransmitter imbalance and this needs to be corrected if you have to be in proper control over your life. That now brings us to the next question.

Well balanced neurotransmitters: What are the neurotransmitters?

It may surprise you to note that the brain of a normal human being is composed of billions and billions of neurons which are the cells that communicates with each other via chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. It therefore means that the defining features of drug intoxication and addiction can be traced to disruptions in cell-to-cell signaling.

Drugs of abuse alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. Over the past few decades, studies have established that drug dependence and addiction are features of an organic brain disease caused by drugs’ cumulative impacts on neurotransmission. Scientists continue to build on this essential understanding with experiments to further elucidate the physiological bases for drug abuse vulnerability as well as the full dimensions and progression of the disease. The findings provide powerful leads to new medications and behavioral treatments.

Finally, now that you know the implications of not taking why you need to balance neurotransmitters, it will be of great help to you to periodically consult with experts like doctor Dalal Akoury for any concerns you may be having as far as balancing neurotransmitter is concerned. Up on scheduling for that appointment, doctor Akoury together with her team of experts will professionally attend to you and before you knew it, you will have your life back.

Well balanced neurotransmitters: The threats of the imbalance




Neurochemical basis of addiction

Neurochemical basis

Neurochemical basis of addiction and addiction treatment systems

Neurochemical basis of addiction: The depleted GABA

For a long time, various forms of addictions have been taken to be just as a result of social problems and sometimes even decisions or choices we make in life. Yes, this may be true but we need to take a moment and look into this problem more critically to find facts about the neurochemical basis of addiction. Doctor Dalal Akoury MD, President, and founder of the AWAREmed health and wellness resource center says that it’s good that modern addiction medicine now recognizes that substance dependency of any kind is a disease process of the brain that features lowered dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitter levels. Importantly, as more legitimate research is done in this field of addiction medicine whose experimental basis is beginning to gain ground, models of neurochemical bases of addiction in the future may also feature lowered levels of GABA as the disease progresses. To understand this neurotransmitter (GABA) it will be necessary that we try to define some of the terms associated with it and appreciate the roles and functions of GABA in totality.

The use of GABA

Because of our unique DNA and the way that each of us metabolizes drugs, each of us may have different amounts of GABA in the brain but we are still considered to be operating “normally.” Unfortunately, there are no accepted medical tests to determine if we have too much or too little GABA activity. It appears that people who are nutritionally deficit and dehydrated often have problems with the operation of GABA in their brains. Since almost all of our patients are nutritionally deficient and dehydrated when they arrive at our facility, we have always implemented the addition of GABA to the IV therapy given to patients. The purpose is to provide a more natural boost to the GABA in the brain and to allow the calming effect of GABA to make the detoxification process more comfortable. Let us now understand how GABA operates by defining these terms.

Neurochemical basis of addiction: The neuron

  • A neuron is another name for a nerve cell.
  • Nerve cells float in the fluid.
  • Each neuron has an axon a thread-like part of the cell that sends signals from the cell body and a dendrite a part of the cell that receives signals from other neurons.
  • The neurons are not touching and the space between the cells is called the synapse.
  • Electrical signals are sent through the synapse to a receptor, a place on a cell that can produce a certain effect like the production of adrenaline if someone is frightened.

Neurochemical basis of addiction: The central nervous system (CNS)

  • The CNS is composed of the brain and the spinal cord.
  • The CNS transmits signals to the rest of the body using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
  • Neurotransmitters are stored in vesicles—hollow sac-like structures inside the cells.
  • These neurotransmitters carry a message from a neuron to receptors on another neuron.
  • The action of the neurotransmitters on the receptors has been likened to a key being inserted in a lock.
  • When the key is turned the lock opens and the neurotransmitters activate the receptors which in turn create an effect in the body.
  • Then many of the neurotransmitters return to the releasing vesicles to be used again.

Finally, you can always talk to us by calling doctor Akoury on telephone number 843 213 1480 to help you with any concerns you may have.

Neurochemical basis of addiction: The depleted GABA