How Dopamine Affects Us

Dopamine serves various functions and is the key force behind many of our intentions and actions. It is something our bodies produce naturally. In this article, we will be explaining different ways how dopamine affects us in our day-to-day life.

When the basic amount of dopamine is not produced by neurons, certain bodily functions and movements will be delayed or uncoordinated. If the body on the other hand, produces excessive dopamine, this can lead to repeated ticks and awkward social interactions. Dopamine is also key for memory. Since it is heavily associated with our reward centre, you may tend to remember something less if it doesn’t excite you. Take an event for example. If during the course of the event you enjoyed yourself, dopamine was released, positively impacting your memory and increasing the chances of you remembering the details. If your body did not release dopamine, your brain is less likely to be motivated to remember all the facts. This is precisely one of the reasons why teachers introduced reward learning, so that they help students retain key facts.

One of the more renowned facts is that dopamine is the key chemical that influences how we perceive and experience pleasure. When we undergo moments or situations of pleasure, dopamine is released. This makes us willing to experience this activity over and over again. Such activities may include eating, especially foods with a high level of sugar and sex.

Dopamine is also associated with drugs. Most drugs are created in a way, to target the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. This leads to addiction as one ends up constantly seeking this pleasurable outcome brought about by such substances. Certain drugs like cocaine inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, which means it stays present within the brain for longer periods of time. This leads to more desire for the drug.

Dopamine also serves to keep the mind alert and induces wakefulness. The brain releases dopamine more during daytime, so that one is more energised and focused. During the night, dopamine levels decrease so that the body can sleep and recover.

When one has low levels of dopamine, he can easily feel bored, unmotivated and depressed. Low levels of dopamine may bring to the fore other more serious conditions such as depression, social phobia, ADHD and Parkinson’s Disease. Excessive levels of dopamine may also be detrimental as they may lead to mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar.

With that said, there are several healthy ways, one can release dopamine in a sustainable way. Such include regular exercise, getting a massage and meditation.

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