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Dopamine and Addiction

Dopamine-Levels

 

 

via:  Gamer Therapist

Drug addiction, addiction to gambling, and food and video games and TV, all have dopamine as the common denominator:

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex (see illustration). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center.

All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.”

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/addiction_hijacks_brain.htm

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Media, Children & Novelty Seekers

Neuro Research Project has a very interesting post on risk-taking, dopamine, and Dr. Christakis’s mouse study.

Note Neuro Research Project ‘s post is based on Dr. Sheikh Arshad Saeed‘s ideas:

http://neuroresearchproject.com/2012/03/14/tv-brain-development-in-children-2/

 

NeuroNotes

Dopamine addiction is an overlooked problem..  Dopamine is the most addictive substance on the planet, a neurotransmitter produced in our own body.

This TEDx video (Media and Children), by Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, parent, and researcher,  shows young mice taking risks after being exposed to TV,  6 hours a day,  for 42 days. The mice continued to take more (potentially life threatening) risks the longer they were exposed to TV.

Long term exposure to specific types of media, especially in young developing brains, appears to corrupt the reward system;  fewer dopamine receptors.  Over-stimulation from media may produce the same effects on the brain as drugs, i.e. heroin and cocaine.  These drugs artificially extracts more dopamine from nerve cells in the brain, requiring more to get high or satisfied over time.   An abundance of dopamine, due to a low density of dopamine receptors, appears to lead to unhealthy risk-taking.  Risk-taking comes in…

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