Vaughan Bell is one of the best neuroscience writers out there. In a piece at The Guardian, he explains what, exactly, the chemical dopamine is doing in our brains and why we do it a major disservice by associating it solely with addiction.

6 Responses to “Dopamine isn't "the pleasure chemical"”

  1. Andrea says:

    I gather from the article that it would be better to say dopamine is linked to excitement – positive or negative – rather than pleasure. Has there been any research on dopamine levels in people who are “high strung”?

    • marilove says:

      “Agitated mania” is a typical symptom of bi-polar.

    • feetleet says:

      Well, meth is basically dopamine psychosis.  I’ve never met a meth head, but the dish is they’re kinda high strung. You didn’t hear it from me. 

    • Jerril says:

      What I’m gathering is it’s basically the “Do it again” chemical. Which sounds like why it’s surging in PTSD patients exposed to the sound of battle – they’re constantly primed for fighting.

      “That felt good, I should do it again” is a concious thought process. Dopamine is about stuff that happens without your higher brain functions input to try to *make* you do it again.

  2. pjcamp says:

    Duh.

    Cocaine is the pleasure chemical.

  3. Brad Bell says:

    I got as far as “The Kim Kardashian of neurotransmitters…” and then I packed it in. ‘Kardashian’ is a toxic referent. The poison is finding out what the poison is.

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