My answer to Do addicts have too little dopamine?

Answer by Connie b. Dellobuono:


Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that the way a brain becomes addicted to a drug is related to how a drug increases levels of the naturally-occurring neurotransmitter dopamine, which modulates the brain's ability to perceive reward reinforcement. The pleasure sensation that the brain gets when dopamine levels are elevated creates the motivation for us to proactively perform actions that are indispensable to our survival (like eating or procreation). Dopamine is what conditions us to do the things we need to do.

Using addictive drugs floods the limbic brain with dopamine—taking it up to as much as five or 10 times the normal level. With these levels elevated, the user's brain begins to associate the drug with an outsize neurochemical reward. Over time, by artificially raising the amount of dopamine our brains think is "normal," the drugs create a need that only they can meet.

Your Brain on Drugs: Dopamine and Addiction

In Dr Daniel Amen’s book, Change your brain, Change your life, addicts have also low levels of serotonin, GABA and other brain chemicals.

Recommended supplements: 5-HTP (whole foods) and green tea, Inositol, saffron, St John’s wort, rhodiola, L-tyrosine, SAMe, Vit D3, DHEA, omega 3, GABA, Vitamin B complex, Calcium and Magnesium

Do addicts have too little dopamine?