General Article Can you be addicted to dopamine?

Topic Selected: Addiction Book Volume: 410

By Ariane Resnick, CNC. Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD

Pleasure is something we all need in life. At times, though, we can get too focused on it, or on specific activities that feel pleasurable to us. They can get out of control, and may even lead to addiction. This is because we can get hooked on the good feelings we’re flooded with when we conduct pleasurable activities.

Those feelings are often referred to as a ‘high,’ which is something people are known to ‘chase.’

We’ll take a look at the brain chemical dopamine and examine how it can be a slippery slope for some people in relation to addiction. First, you’ll learn what dopamine is. Then, we’ll examine the pleasurable activities that can provide it, why they can potentially lead to problems, and what behaviours you can follow to prevent getting too dependent on the feelings that accompany a surge in dopamine.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. That means it’s a chemical that sends signals inside our brains...

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