What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson's Disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is also associated with sensation-seeking people, more commonly known as "risk takers."

Recent Posts on Dopamine

Iron, Dopamine, and ADHD

Iron, a common mineral (and, paradoxically, a common mineral deficiency in humans) is important to the brain and vital for normal brain development and human behavior. It is a key cofactor in the making of neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that affect neuron signaling, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and especially dopamine.

What Does Black Friday Do to Your Brain?

By Eva Ritvo M.D. on November 21, 2015 On Vitality
Did you know that Black Friday is bad for your brain? Based on neuroscience, we've got the perfect way to turn Black Friday into Bright Friday.

A Curious Case of Depression

A young adult male comes in reporting weight loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, and depression so severe he's requesting "shock therapy." Where does one begin with such difficult cases?

Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Read about some of the lesser-known facts about the benefits of chocolate and about its traditional use in this region.

Desire in a Pill for Women with Low Libido?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on October 15, 2015 All About Sex
The newly approved drug for women's low libido, Addyi, works nowhere near as well as safer, cheaper, more empowering alternatives.

Running On Empty?

When you find yourself feeling exhausted, you are in a state of deprivation, temporarily unable to replenish yourself. This means that the natural balance of give and take, which characterizes healthy living, is disturbed. The question is how to open yourself up again and, quite literally, change your mind.

Can Coffee Help Anxiety?

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on September 13, 2015 Inner Source
Coffee is a definite "no no" if you suffer anxiety, right? Well, the effect of coffee on anxiety may not be so clear cut.

Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy

By disrupting sleep, suppressing the brain's frontal lobe, raising stress hormones, and fracturing attention, daily screen-time is making children become the worst version of themselves.

America's Infatuation with Jim Harbaugh

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 16, 2015 Obesely Speaking
While other college coaches are busy strategizing to win football games, Jim Harbaugh is conquering a nation without trying.

Why Are the Candy Crushes of the World Dominating Our Lives?

What happens when an organic form of existence, after evolving for millions of years, meets the last word in planned and designed addictiveness? Darwin goes searching for the gas pedal in this evolutionary phenomenon of his.

How Giving Something for Nothing Can Benefit your Health

Altruism can benefit your health - try it and see

Overcoming Garden Variety Moodiness

If you tend to moodiness and would like an approach that is "psychology" or "psychiatry light," give this a try.

The FDA, the DSM, Gender Equality, and “Female Viagra”

Will the FDA succumb to lobbyists accusing it of gender bias?

What if Addiction is the Only Game in Town?

Giving up booze or drugs, getting sober, might sound like a good idea. Unless there's nothing else available to provide you with meaning and warmth. Without those alternatives, getting straight is like looking into a dust-storm. There's nothing to see except greyness and formlessness -- and that can be terrifying.

Is Surfing the Internet Addictive?

By Susan Greenfield Ph.D. on April 30, 2015 Mind Change
New research shows that aimless, excessive Internet use is associated with changes in the brain consistent with addictions. What could be addictive about endlessly surfing the web?

Why Can My Inattentive Child Pay Attention to Video Games?!

Parents often wonder: if my child has attention problems, why is it that he can focus during a video game? But if we understand the basis of attention and attentional deficits, we'll see why this phenomenon is not so surprising.

The Science Behind Falling in Love

By Maryanne Fisher Ph.D. on February 12, 2013 Love's Evolver
Although you might feel that your experience of falling in love is unique, science can explain why you have lost your appetite, or why you think the sky is bluer.

The Amazing Power of "Small Wins"

By Meg Selig on July 18, 2012 Changepower
Reaching small goals gives your brain dopamine spritzes!

Got Tics? Environmental Adjustments Can Help

“Tics wax and wane. It’s just the nature of the beast.” Or is it?

Combine Fun and Pleasure with Habit Change

By Meg Selig on August 15, 2011 Changepower
Fun and pleasure can motivate a healthy habit change.

The Relationship Between Sex and Food

By Maryanne Fisher Ph.D. on February 09, 2011 Love's Evolver
If you're thinking of a romantic gift for a lover, why buy just the usual box of chocolates? Instead you could make an "aphrodisiac basket!"

Why You Can’t Always Feel When Love Hurts

By Craig Malkin PhD on January 06, 2011 Romance Redux
Blinded by the glow of romantic love (or the love of one's children), we tend to miss the faults, the disappointments, the slights—minor and sometimes even major—in the people we love the most. Now it appears there may be a powerful neurological component to love-blindness.

Can the "Novelty Habit" Boost a Couple's Commitment?

By Meg Selig on May 24, 2010 Changepower
 Research shows that sharing exciting experiences can lift a couple's commitment.