How Dopamine Influences Drug Addiction
Many drug addicts are not aware of the role dopamine plays in addictions. Dopamine is often associated with pleasure and is part of the brain’s reward system. It is activated when we have sex, eat or drink some water when we are thirsty. Dopamine is vital for the proper functioning of the body,but when we interfere with dopamine production through drugs, we disrupt out how it is produced.
That is why it is challenging to quit drugs even through willpower. Quitting becomes a challenge depending on the type of drug one is using and its effects on neurons in the brain. Drugs addiction results in the compulsive use of a drug in spite of the negative ramifications.
What goes inside the brain when you take drugs?
When we take drugs, we often experience a euphoric feeling as dopamine saturates the brain. When dopamine is been used efficiently, we tend to be motivated,and we concentrate on activities that will propel us forward. When there is a surge in dopamine in the brain due to drugs brain cells short circuit,and with time we are unable to live without the drug. That is why it is possible for someone to relapse even after undergoing marijuana detox.
When drugs hijack how dopamine is produced a person starts saying that they cannot live without the drug. It also leads to tolerance. The human brain often resembles a computer system; it is so complex that scientists have not fully comprehended how it functions.
The brain has billions of cells that operate like computer chips called neurons. The neurons are responsible for the transmission of information in the brain. The neurons work as a team in receiving and sending signals. In scientific terms,a neuron often releases a neurotransmitter in the space between it and the next cell. The neurotransmitter will attach itself onto the receiving neuron the moment it crosses the synapse.
Drugs interfere with this process by hijacking the signals been sent and received. They can do this by mimicking the chemical structure of neurotransmitter. Instead of the neurotransmitter attaching to the synapse,it is chemical compounds found in the drug that do this.
Cocaine and amphetamine instead of attaching to the synapse cause the neurons to produce more than the usual amount of neurotransmitters. When this happens, the neurons in the brain are unable to send and receive signals efficiently.
What are the adverse effects of interference with dopamine production?
When drugs interfere with the production of dopamine someone starts experiencing pleasure only through drugs. This is because the basal ganglia that are vital for motivation, sex drive, eating foods and drinks get over activated. With time the drug addict is unable to find pleasure in anything other than drugs.
The drugs also cause anxiety, unease,and irritability whenever the drug addict does not take the drugs. Addicts would rather cure these temporary symptoms rather suffer discomfort due to withdrawal.
The effects of drugs on the brain will largely depend on the type of the drug. Something like opioids attack the brains stems cells and this affects the victims sleeping, breathing and heart rate.
Many people who do not fully understand how drugs affect dopamine production in the brain often assume that the drug addict has a weak will. Many assume that by not taking drugs the addict should go back to normal immediately. That is why we have rehab programs, which enable the drug addict to withdraw the drugs gradually.
Natural ways to boost dopamine in the body
It is estimated that a workout program for 20 to 30 minutes will prompt the release of dopamine in the body. There are various work out plans that you can engage in instead of taking a short of cocaine. Exercise does not only produce a good feeling,but it also boosts your confidence levels.Exercisecan be used with meditation. Mindfulness helps you to reduce stress levels in your body. Deep breathing exercises are known to reduce nicotine cravings. Various apps in the market can guide you through this.
Since dopamine is responsible for motivation; when you break down your goals into small ones, you have dopamine been released whenever you accomplish one. It is vital that you write down your goals on a piece of paper so that you can track them.
Carbohydrates and foods high on sugars cause a drop of dopamine in the body. Instead of wasting your money on some of these foods try eating bananas. It is thought that bananas have a chemical compound that is similar to dopamine. To get the most from your bananas eat those that are ripe. Also, you can add other healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Fruits are full of Vitamin C, andthis alsoboosts dopamine levels in the body. Most people often experience a rush of dopamine when they take caffeine,but this is temporary. Caffeine also interferes with sleep patterns.
Tyrosine is a protein found in the body and that aids in the production of dopamine. To increase tyrosine levels in the body consume a lot of foods rich in this protein such as peanuts, chicken, or eggs. Also stay away from high carbohydrate-rich foods like potato crisps.
Engage in a hobby you love
One great way to boost dopamine levels in your body instead of taking drugs is to engage in an activity that you love,and that makes you feel happy about yourself. This can include knitting, drawing or cooking. Doing something that you love also helps keep depression levels down. Playing your favorite music tracks at high volumes has also been shown to boost dopamine levels – do not feel shy pumping up the volume.
Dopamine plays a vital role when it comes to drug addiction. When drugs hijack the normal production of dopamine in your system, you become hooked to the drugs and stop finding pleasure in things you once enjoyed. Quitting drugs becomes hard as your body builds tolerance for the drugs. But, through drug rehabilitation, you can start living a better life.