Dopamine and Addiction

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter located in the brain and is characterized by five types of Dopamine Receptors known simply by the names: D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5. Dopamine affects wide variety of motor functions, but most notably it is associated with the pleasure center of the brain. It is this connection that has established dopamine in its central role in many addictions such as nicotine addiction, amphetamene addiction, and cocaine addiction.


Addictive drugs feed off the prevention of "dopamine uptake"allowing dopamine to remain in activation for longer periods of time promoting the known euphoric feeling associated with many drug addictions. It is this process that addicts search after and hope to replicate. One example example of prolonged activation of dopamine is nicotine and its ability to suppress GABA, which is integral in the process of "dopamine uptake." This suppression is what leads to nicotine addiction and is what makes it so hard to quit smoking tobacco.


With the understanding of how dopamine affects the pleasure sensors in the brain one can understand the dangers of the many substances that lead to addiction.


 

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