Addicted Brains

A neuroscientist examines life on drugs.

The Key to Quitting: Self-Trust Part 2, Delay Discounting

Delay discounting is the tendency to overvalue immediate rewards at the expense of long-term benefits, and addicts are particularly prone. Their messed-up dopamine system makes their drug, drink or behavior of choice seem way too attractive. To overcome delay discounting, addicts need to find a future self they can rely on. Read More

Doesn't a dopamine increase

Doesn't a dopamine increase do the same thing. Don't w have an way to artificially increase dopamine until the addict is clean enough to make thieir own decisions

More dopamine wouldn't help

In fact, if you could give addicts a shot of dopamine that would get to the proper receptor sites, they'd be in even worse shape. Parkinson's patients often get dopamine supplements to improve their motor functioning. Many reports and anecdotes show that these patients can become impulsive, thrill-seeking, and addiction-prone as a result. In fact, a common adverse effect of these dopaminergic drugs is excessive gambling behavior -- even among people who have never gambled in their lives!

Remember: dopamine isn't the main ingredient of pleasure, as previously thought. Dopamine IS the main ingredient of desire, attraction, impulsivity and goal-seeking.

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Marc Lewis, PhD has been a professor of developmental psychology and neuroscience for over 20 years and is the author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain. 

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