Dopamine: The Natural Pleasure Seeker

by on September 17th, 2010 at 7:00 am

We’ve all heard of it, Dopamine, but do we actually know what it is and what it can do for us? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger if you will, that affects our brain’s processes and controls emotional responses and our ability to feel pleasure or pain. Basically, dopamine is the feeling we get if we eat a piece of cake rather than broccoli. Broccoli, as we all know is much healthier than an indulgent piece of cake, however, our brain correlates cake with a reward and that in turn pulls our “I feel good” trigger.

Apart from food, there are other substances and behaviors that reward the brain and unhealthily feed deficient dopamine levels, such as gambling, drug use, alcohol and pornography. As you can see all of these actions are risk-taking activities, and those who have addictive personalities can easily become addicted to them. It’s important to know that a large amount of people with a dopamine deficiency do have addictive personalities.

Dopamine is activated when we engage in activities we deem necessary for our survival. For addicts, they believe the above deeds are necessary for their survival, but in all actuality they are only craving dopamine and not the actual addictive substance, thoughts or emotions.

Dopamine and sexual health

Recently scientists have started to untangle the theories between dopamine and sexual response. Their research has shown that sex is the best, natural way for dopamine to be released, and therefore triggers a pleasurable experience in the brain- otherwise known as “a reward”.

Dopamine levels within an individual may rise and fall through the course of a few weeks and cause unwanted feelings that differ in men and women. Women tend to become more hostile in the first few weeks after a dopamine filled sexual encounter, while men may be more inclined towards impotence. Sex may help dopamine levels for a while, but it’s not the cure-all for dopamine deficiencies. Most mild to moderate dopamine deficiencies can be balanced with a good diet and adequate rest.

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Are you unsure whether or not you are dopamine deficient?

Those with deficient dopamine levels may show signs of depression, low self-esteem, lack of libido, feel mentally fatigued, easily gain weight, or have a history of ADD. Causes of dopamine deficiency can be Hypothyroidism, chronic stress, inadequate sleep, vitamin deficiencies, and even the common “flu”. Alternatively, individuals who are dopamine dominant (meaning by nature they have it in excess), tend to be strategic thinkers, assertive, strong-willed, problem solvers, competitive, and they are drawn towards professions in the military, construction, allopathic medicine or law.

It is important to keep your dopamine levels in check to ensure you are in the best possible health, eat a well-balanced diet and include exercise in your day-to-day life.

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