Tag Archives: Reward system

Reward Deficieny syndrome

Reward deficiency syndrome and brain disease

Reward deficiency syndrome

Reward deficiency syndrome and brain disease. In fact, it is the reward deficiency syndrome that causes the compulsive use of alcohol and drugs that help to feel good, at least temporarily

Reward deficiency syndrome and brain disease: Rebuilding Neurotransmitter

A host of medical and lifestyle issues can disturb the healthy flow of neurotransmitters, including chronic stress, alcohol, drug abuse, genetics, poor diet, digestive disturbances and mal-absorption, micronutrient deficiency and more. The result can be Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), a term primarily used for hereditary chemical imbalances wherein the pleasure centers, which regulate feelings of well-being in the brain, fail to receive appropriate neural signals. As a result, the brain sends out urgent messages of craving. Doctor Dalal Akoury MD, President, and founder of the AWAREmed health and wellness resource center reiterates that, in the brains of addicts, various neurotransmissions are affected, depending upon the drug or drugs that have been used. As a result addicts experience difficulty concentrating and have mood swings, as well as having other physical symptoms.

Collectively, these symptoms are called cravings and withdrawals. Craving and withdrawal symptoms are a result of a neurochemical imbalance in the brain. If these imbalances are not addressed, life can be miserable to drug users and that is why doctor Akoury created this health facility with a primary objective of transforming each individual’s life through increasing awareness about health and wellness and by empowering individuals to find their own inner healing power. Besides that it will also interest you to note that, doctor Akoury’s practice focus on personalized medicine through healthy lifestyle choices that deal with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of patching up symptoms. This should motivate you to schedule an appointment with her now by calling her on telephone number 843 213 1480 for the commencement of your recovery process. And as you consider that, let’s look at some of the reward deficiency syndromes;

  • Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that help to control states of consciousness, including moods.
  • Serotonin and GABA down-regulate electrical activity in the brain, thereby contributing to calm, peacefulness, or less anxiety.
  • Adrenaline and noradrenaline up-regulate electrical activity thereby promoting excitement, motivation, or, reducing depression and apathy.
  • Dopamine is the “feel good” brain chemical. It is the dance of these electro-chemicals that produce emotional balance and feelings of well-being.

Reward deficiency syndrome and brain disease: When the neurochemicals are impaired

When the proper flow, or cascade, of these neurochemicals is impaired, or, the brain’s receptors are blocked, then a variety of problems can develop, including:

  • Mood instability
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Impaired concentration
  • Trouble focusing
  • Despair

Finally, it is the Reward Deficiency Syndrome that causes the compulsive use of alcohol and drugs that help to feel good, at least temporarily. In addition to alcohol, people use nicotine, other stimulants, illicit drugs, junk foods, sugars, or thrill-seeking behaviors such as gambling, sex, and Internet porn. Unfortunately, this only provides temporary relief while bringing with it the possibility of more long-term problems. For lasting solution to addiction, only experts on the same line will liberate you from this problem. Doctor Dalal Akoury is an expert you can rely on for whatever addiction you are going through.

Reward deficiency syndrome and brain disease: Rebuilding Neurotransmitter




Brain Coordination and The Reward System

Food, abused drugs and sexual interests share a common pathway within our brains’ survival and reward systems

Brain CoordinationStudies indicate that food, abused drugs and sexual interests share a common pathway within our brains’ survival and reward systems. This pathway leads into the area of the brain responsible for our higher thinking, rational thought and judgment. When an addict’s brain takes over that survival and reward pathway, it tells the person that having illicit sex and inappropriate thoughts are good for them the same way the brain tells a normal person that food is require when he is hungry. These changes in brain’s reward pathway translate into a sex addict’s obsession with sex and of other related activities such as obligatory sexual behavior despite understanding the ill effect of this behavior on oneself. This lack of sense of self harm is also followed my failed attempts to limit of completely terminated such sexual activities.

The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gotten more support from science. It is even perfectly fine to say that over eating and eating disorders are a form of addiction, obesity is not a life style, if it’s a food related obesity problem then it’s the outcome of addiction to over eating. Addiction plays weird games with our reward system; scientists have discovered that for some people the same reward system is activated through food (especially eatables rich in sugar and fat) which is generally activated by the consumption of addictive drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Like these addictive drugs, for these people certain foods trigger feel-good feelings resulting in the release a dopamine; a hormone that is associated with pleasure through reward system. The pleasures they get from high levels of dopamine make them feel the need to eat again and again to gain the same form of satisfaction.

Now comes drug addiction, many of us fail to understand how people get addicted to drugs, it’s a common misconception that drug addicts lack moral principles and will power because otherwise they could simply choose to change their behavior. That’s not how drug addiction works; drug addiction is a complex disease and quitting requires much more than a strong will power to change this behavior. In reality many of drug addicts really want to quit but they simply can’t. It is because of the change drugs have brought in their brain’s reward system that forces them to even commit compulsive drug abuse. It’s an established fact that the initial decision of taking drugs in most of the cases is voluntary but the later consequences and changes in brain that occur over period of time severely  compromises a person’s self control and hamper his ability to resist the strong urges of taking drugs.

Sexual addiction somehow follows the same patterns of addiction as food and drugs. It fools ones reward system into thinking that this is the ultimate pleasure and without this, survival is impossible. A sexual addict’s brain start making a person believe that sex is as important as food, just like a normal person have to eat three or more time a day, a sex addict has to do or plan such activities as many times to survive. What he fails to recognize is the lack of balance and control. Even eating more than necessary is detrimental to health, having sexual urges more than required are devastating for the addict as well as the society.

All of these forms of addictions manifest themselves in similar fashion however the mechanism and factor behind how a person gets addicted to food and sex and how the reward system is being changed are not very clear. In the case of drugs it’s comparatively easier to explain how our brain gets affected by drugs. Drugs contain certain chemicals that alter the brain’s communication system and interrupt the ways in which our nerve cells send, receive and process information signals. There are two major ways through which drugs can disrupt normal brain function. Firstly by mimicking the brain’s natural chemical messengers and secondly by over stimulation of our brain’s reward circuit.

Some drugs have similar structures like our chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are naturally produced in the brain and are key role players in our chemical signaling pathways. The similarity of drugs allows them to fool brain receptors and stimulate nerve cells to send abnormal messages. Other drugs, such as cocaine have the ability to cause the nerve cells to release strangely hefty quantities of natural neurotransmitters such as dopamine. These signals also hinder the regular recycling of these brain chemicals, which is required to shut off the signaling between neurons. The result is a brain drenched in dopamine, which is present in those regions of brain that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. Due to the over activation of this reward system (normally responding to natural behaviors associated with survival such as eating and spending time with loved ones) certain euphoric effects are produced in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction ensures a recurring pattern that teaches people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs.

It is evident from the researches addictions apart from drugs, such as food and sexual, are caused by a greater tendency of impulsivity. Those individuals, who have been more impulsive easily fall prey to addiction. Once the addiction successfully alters the reward and survival pathways, the manifestation of addiction becomes exactly like someone is addicted to a substance. There is a pressing need of understanding these addictions and formulating integrated solutions that can counter addiction and related symptoms in more efficient way. For this purpose we are organizing a “Integrative Addiction Conference” whose sole focus is on addiction and its integrative solutions. If you are a health professional, a professor, a practicing psychologist or even a student, this conference is a great opportunity to contribute in these fields of knowledge. Our main topics deal with the same niche as of this article, so register right away and get maximum benefits through our link below




Drug seeking and cravings to the brain

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Addictions effect on the brain’s reward system

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain. Ideally drugs are a serious threat to your health and the brain is one of the organs affected the most.

Drug seeking and craving to the brain is very interesting more so when we consider how the brain functions. It is true that the brain has evolved over time in a way that ensures human survival. And in fact our brain’s reward system is part of that survival system. In many instances we often experience an urgent need for food whenever we are starving and generally have a powerful desire for sex too. According to doctor Dalal Akoury MD and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center, the brain’s reward system rewards food and sex because they ensure our survival. Unfortunately, drugs of abuse operate within these reward systems which leads people to experience an urgent need or powerful desire for drugs or addictive activities.

The brain’s reward system has ensured our species survival. You may have not known but food, water, and sex are some of the elements that activate the reward system. Therefore when the brain’s reward center is activated, it releases dopamine. Dopamine then creates a pleasing, enjoyable sensation which then motivates us into repeating these behaviors which are necessary for our survival. The reason why this is happening is because dopamine has rewarded us with a pleasurable feeling. Doctor Akoury recommends that from an evolutionary standpoint of view, it is very helpful to have a reward system that works. Like for instance, imagine that there is very little food and you’re wandering about looking for food. When you finally find something to eat, this triggers your reward system. This pleasing feeling (dopamine “reward”) will become associated with whatever behavior that led you to that food. This causes you to want to repeat that behavior. Moreover, the reward system is closely tied to emotional and subjective memories. If you were successful and found food in a particular place for instance, in the future you will want to look for food in the same location. This reward system increases the likelihood that you will be successful in finding food there the next time. This is because your brain chemicals are rewarding you with a pleasing sensation. It also helps you to remember how and where this pleasant feeling occurred.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: The negative dopamine reward sensation

It will come to you as a surprise that the element that motives your survival is unfortunately the very same reward system that ensures your survival also rewards drug use. Doctor Akoury says that all addictive substances and activities will trigger the release of dopamine which rewards us with a pleasant sensation thereby succeeding in motivating us to continuously indulge in these harmful behaviors. It is nowadays common knowledge that peoples with addiction problems will all it takes to get their drug of choice and in the same way, they continue with their addiction despite the harm it causes to themselves or their loved ones. It is therefore very important to note that all these characteristic of addictive behaviors arise from the brain’s pleasure and rewards centers. Therefore seeking for lasting solutions becomes a must to do for all victims. This may not be a very popular thing owing to the addictiveness of some of these drugs, but nonetheless it is the best option if you want to have a healthy life that is free from all sorts of addiction. You can schedule for an appointment with doctor Dalal Akoury for the commencement of your journey to recovery.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Mesolimbic pathway

We now have a basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brain’s reward system. Let’s interrogate it a little bit further. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathway which is located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathway 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 pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are inter-related, 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.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Addictions effect on the brain’s reward system




The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction

The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction

Female sex addictionSex addiction is a problem that many people are battling with in the US and the world over. However in the past it was thought that men were the main victims of sex addiction but research has since proved that this is a lie as women are more prone to this vice as opposed to women. Another factor that makes women more of victims is the fact that generally society has always associated women who are addicted to sex as sluts while men who are addicted to sex are often thought as studs. The reality of the matter however is, both genders are at a loss when addicted but what makes it easier for men to find help is the fact that they are free and can express their problems when addressed by their therapists and this openness helps them find help. On the other hand, women afraid of all the negative tittles they will be associated are often afraid to open up and let the problem be known and this will manifest in various behavioral changes.

Orgasm and dopamine

Most people who engage in sex for recreational purposes are often in pursuit for the highest sexual climax otherwise known as orgasm. According Wilhelm Reich orgasm naturally helps in discharge of excess bio-energy with the additional liberation of feeling energy, and he also recognized the negative consequences of blocked sexual energies. However it’s quite unfortunate that in addition to exciting peaks, orgasms tend to produce powerful negative side-effects that are only now becoming better understood. This is due to predictable trends in hormonal activity which seem to be similar in all mammals to ensure certain evolutionary objectives, especially the wide mixing of gene pools and the safe raising of offspring. This is achieved with the following neurochemical changes.

As expected there are hormones that come to play; dopamine, the reward hormone; prolactin, the hormone of satiation; oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, and levels of androgen receptors, which all powerfully affect our mood, our desire for intimacy, our perception of our mate, as well as our susceptibility to addictive activities and substances. These hormones can also have different but generally related functions.

The levels of dopamine will abruptly fall and this will induce the usual withdrawal symptoms. The fall of dopamine is rather immediate in men while it takes time in women to occur. As the level of dopamine falls the level of prolactin will heighten and the androgen receptors fall after orgasm. Low testosterone in women is associated with irritability and anger. In sexually-satiated rats it has been shown that serotonin and endorphin levels also rise, and this also decreases dopamine and raises prolactin levels. Oxytocin levels fall after conventional orgasm but remaining in close contact may help to counter this drop and sustain oxytocin levels. It is the fall of dopamine to the lows that is associated with all the withdrawal effects and women, deprived of affection will engage in sex repeatedly to enjoy the magical bliss of dopamine heights during sex especially at orgasm. This is a ‘high’ that is often compared to the feeling those using drugs of pleasure often crave.

Apart from behavioral changes a female addict will suffer from disturbed hormone equilibrium that may last for a week or two, a period in which she will be battling these side effects; being more irritable, dissatisfied, and anxious or depressed. This is exactly the same process and length of time prolactin levels need to recover during withdrawal from cocaine.

Another stimulant that is involved in sex is the phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is also present in cocoa and chocolate and elevates energy, mood and attention. PEA is produced in greater amounts when one is in love and when this stimulant is in low levels, a person will feel unhappy and deprived.

as mentioned in earlier article, most women get addicted to sex while in pursuit of love and affection, When a woman first fall in love she becomes bonded by rising PEA, oxytocin and dopamine levels .When she is are sexually aroused by close contact her dopamine level rises further and at the time of orgasm she will have a dopamine brainstorm which one researchers have compared to the effects of heroin on the brain. Dopamine is active in all addictions, even in people who have forgotten what sex is. Most of this activity is in the limbic system, the oldest part of the brain.

What causes addiction in women?

Female sex addictionThe honest truth is that what causes sex addiction women is until now poorly understood but researchers have pointed fingers at childhood neglect or abuse, such as physical or emotional abandonment or other forms of trauma. Most of females who are sex addicts are reported to have experienced sex abuse as children. Early child abuse of nearly any kind can impair a child’s ability to bond in healthy ways as an adult, leading to chronic relationship intimacy issues that can eventually morph into sexual addiction.

Research suggests that there’s also a strong neurochemical component to both eating disorders and sexual addiction. One can become addicted to the potent neurochemical rush that occurs during an exciting sexual or romantic encounter. This neurobiological blend includes highly satisfying dopamine as well as adrenaline, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Women suffering from emotional or psychological issues such as depression or anxiety and from childhood trauma or profound trauma as an adult can unconsciously use this neurochemical response to cope with stress and painful emotions. Compulsively reliving or re-enacting the pleasurable fantasies and experiences sets up an addictive cycle of using sex and sexual fantasies to control intensely painful emotions.

Integrative Addiction Conference 2015

Finally, sex addiction is not a light matter. It’s a problem that is still holding many women captives .This problem needs to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

The Neurochemistry of Female Sex Addiction



Dopamine and Norepinephrine Contributing to Addiction?

Dopamine and Norepinephrine and Their Contribution to Addiction

Dopamine and norepinephrine are very crucial neurotransmitters whose functions can never be underestimated. These are some of the most crucial neurotransmitters in the body. In particular, dopamine has very many functions in the body but to many people it is famous for its good feeling effects that it is always identified with but this should not be the case as it has functions beyond the mesolimbic pathway. In the brain dopamine plays such roles as: It plays a big role in starting movement, and the destruction of dopamine neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra is what produces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is involved in the frontal cortex in executive functions like attention and feelings among others. In the rest of the body, dopamine is involved in nausea, in kidney function, and in heart function. Though only relevant to most people when it comes to such aspects as motivation, addiction, attention or lust, dopamine is a crucial neurotransmitter that also does vital functions in different pathways. Therefore dopamine should not only be limited to the mesolimbic pathway. A pathway which starts with cells in the ventral tegmental area, buried deep in the middle of the brain, which send their projections out to places like the nucleus accumbens and the cortex.  the levels of dopamine is naturally controlled by the brain, for example when a person engages  in pleasurable activities the brain will increase the level of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, however during addiction the dopamine signaling in this area is changed. For any drug to have any pleasurable feeling to the user then the level of dopamine must be increased and this is what causes euphoric feelings that drug users will do anything to achieve.


Dopamine depletion and cocaine addiction

Despite one of the most dangerous drugs of pleasure, cocaine has remained to be one of the drugs that are highly abused worldwide. Cocaine works in such a way that it targets the dopamine which is a neurotransmitter related with euphoric feelings. When taken cocaine will cause a surge of dopamine extracellular in limbic areas, specifically, nucleus accumbens it is this surge that causes euphoric effects cocaine is known for. It is the euphoric properties of cocaine that lead to the development of chronic abuse, and appear to involve the acute activation of central dopamine neuronal systems. Dopamine plays a key role in reward system and stimulation behavior. However, when a person uses cocaine for a long time his neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine alterations will eventually occur. Dopamine depletion is hypothesized to result from overstimulation of these neurons and excessive synaptic metabolism of the neurotransmitter. It is this depletion of dopamine that may underlie dysphoric aspects of cocaine abstinence, and cocaine cravings.  With many research findings on cocaine relations with dopamine, it is clear that cocaine addiction stems from the depletion of synaptic dopamine in the mesolimbic dopamine reward system, leading to a dysphoric withdrawal state that drives cocaine seeking to restore dopamine to normal, drug-dependence level.

After using cocaine for a long time, your brain will be conditioned to use cocaine in order to raise cocaine to the required levels and this result in addicted brain that can’t function without taking cocaine. At this stage it will be hard for an addict to quit using this drug as every time you try to quit all the withdrawal symptoms will set in thereby causing addiction and dependence thereafter. These cravings contribute not only to addiction but to relapse after a hard-won sobriety especially when the addict encounters triggers.

Norepinephrine and Drug Addiction

Norepinephrine is a very vital neurotransmitter in the brain that is also one of the most abundant in the brain. It is important for such roles as selective attention, general arousal, and stress reactions in challenging environments. Norepinephrine has been implicated by several studies as a key mediator of drug reward for three primary reasons. First, the noradrenergic pathways support intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and modulate drug-induced changes in ICSS threshold. Secondly, the biochemical activity of psychostimulant drugs includes blockade of Norepinephrine reuptake and enhancement of Norepinephrine release and thirdly, compounds that interfere with Norepinephrine synthesis or signaling influence drug self-administration. The idea that drugs of abuse act via the endogenous reward systems in the brain first arose when psychostimulants such as amphetamine and cocaine have been found to alter support intracranial self-stimulation thresholds. One interpretation of these results was that Norepinephrine mediates the effect of psychostimulants on support intracranial self-stimulation, because these drugs cause Norepinephrine release, block Norepinephrine reuptake or do both.


In a 1970s research done by Davis WM and Smith SG in a study titled: Catecholaminergic mechanisms of reinforcement: direct assessment by drug-self-administration, it was found that catecholamines were important in the mediation of opiate self-administration. in this research, a series of experiments showed that depletion of Norepinephrine and dopamine with amphetamine , a drug which is known to inhibit tyrosine hydroxylase prevents or attenuates the self-administration of morphine in rodents and in nonhuman primates as was shown earlier by Pozuelo and Kerr in 1972.

Finally, Drug addiction is a vice that should be fought by all means that is why we at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to addicts and offering them a place to call home. We offer NER Treatment and Amino acid therapy that are the most effective approaches to addiction treatment and recovery. You call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) today and begin your journey to victory against addiction.

Dopamine and Norepinephrine and Their Roles in Causing Addiction