Dopamine and addiction are two words used together frequently today. It is the increase in dopamine that is what we like. It makes us feel good. It is the increase in dopamine (among other things) levels that allows things like online gaming, porn, and gambling to be called addictions.
Increased dopamine and addiction are the two most closely related for this blog but dopamine plays a role in a lot of other things. In fact, here are some highlights on from a Science Daily Article.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning. When activated from outside stimuli, nerve cells in the brain release dopamine, causing a chain reaction that releases even more of this chemical messenger.
To ensure that this doesn’t result in an infinite loop of dopamine production, a protein called the dopamine transporter reabsorbs the dopamine back into the cell to terminate the process. As dopamine binds to its transporter, it is returned to the nerve cells for future use.
The competitive binding and subsequent excess dopamine is what causes euphoria, increased energy, and alertness. It also contributes to drug abuse and addiction.
However, cocaine and other drugs like amphetamine, completely hijack this well-balanced system.
“When cocaine enters the bloodstream, it does not allow dopamine to bind to its transporter, which results in a rapid increase in dopamine levels,” Sahai explained.
Dopamine and Addiction Speculation
Those are the broad strokes of how dopamine and addiction come together. The subject of the article is dopamine but I could not resist posting these excerpts as more evidence that people are addicted to the neurotransmitters that are being manipulated and not any specific drug or molecule.
This helps my argument that people who are addicted to one drug, if they run out, will frequently switch to another drug that has a similar effects on the same neurotransmitters, rather than this being about a body crying out for a specific drug/molecule like ETOH or THC.