Effects of excess dopamine

What It Is, Function & Symptoms

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a type of monoamine neurotransmitter. It’s made in your brain and acts as a chemical messenger, communicating messages between nerve cells in your brain and your brain and the rest of your body.

Dopamine also acts as a hormone. Dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine are the main catecholamines (a label based on having part of the same molecular structure). These hormones are made by your adrenal gland, a small hat-shaped gland located on top of each of your kidneys. Dopamine is also a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus in your brain.

What’s the role of dopamine in my body?

Dopamine plays a role in many body functions.

As a neurotransmitter, dopamine is involved in:

  • Movement.
  • Memory.
  • Pleasurable reward and motivation.
  • Behavior and cognition.
  • Attention.
  • Sleep and arousal.
  • Mood.
  • Learning.
  • Lactation.

As a hormone, dopamine is released into your bloodstream. It plays a small role in the “fight-or-flight” syndrome. The fight-or-flight response refers to your body’s response to a perceived or real stressful situation, such as needing to escape danger.

Dopamine also:

  • Causes blood vessels to relax (at low doses, it acts as a vasodilator) or constrict (at high doses, it acts as a vasoconstrictor).
  • Increases sodium (salt) and urine removal from your body.
  • Reduces insulin production in your pancreas.
  • Slows gastrointestinal (GI) (gut) content movement and protects your GI lining.
  • Reduces lymphocyte activity in your immune system.

How does dopamine make someone feel happy?

Dopamine is known as the “feel-good” hormone. It gives you a sense of pleasure. It also gives you the motivation to do something when you’re feeling pleasure.

Dopamine is part of your reward system. This system is designed, from an evolutionary standpoint, to reward you when you’re doing the things you need to do to survive — eat, drink, compete to survive and reproduce. As humans, our brains are hard-wired to seek out behaviors that release dopamine in our reward system. When you’re doing something pleasurable, your brain releases a large amount of dopamine. You feel good and you seek more of that feeling.

This is why junk food and sugar are so addictive. They trigger the release of a large amount of dopamine into your brain, which gives you the feeling that you’re on top of the world and you want to repeat that experience.

How might I feel if I have the right amount of dopamine?

If you have the right balance of dopamine, you feel:

  • Happy.
  • Motivated.
  • Alert.
  • Focused.

How might I feel if I have a low dopamine level?

If you have a low dopamine level, you might feel:

  • Tired.
  • Unmotivated.
  • Unhappy.

You may also have:

  • Memory loss.
  • Mood swings.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Concentration problems.
  • A low sex drive.

How might I feel if I have a high dopamine level?

If you have a high dopamine level, you might feel:

  • Euphoric.
  • Energized.
  • A high sex drive.

The negative side of having high levels of dopamine include:

  • Having trouble sleeping.
  • Having poor impulse control.
  • Being more aggressive.

What health conditions are associated with high or low dopamine levels?

Many diseases are associated with high or low levels of dopamine. There’s still much to be learned. For example, does a high or low level of dopamine cause disease or does disease cause a change in the dopamine level? Can the answer be both? Adding to the confusion is that the function of a single neurotransmitter like dopamine can’t be viewed in isolation of other neurotransmitters or other chemicals in your brain or body. Many interact with each other. There’s a lot going on.

All that being said, there are still diseases in which the dopamine levels are high or low.

Diseases associated with low levels of dopamine:
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
Diseases associated with high levels of dopamine:
  • Mania.
  • Obesity.
  • Addiction.
Diseases associated with both high and low levels of dopamine:
  • Schizophrenia. Some symptoms of schizophrenia can possibly be caused by having too much dopamine in certain areas of your brain — delusions and hallucinations. Other symptoms are possibly caused by not having enough dopamine in another part of your brain — lack of motivation.

What are dopamine agonists?

Dopamine agonists are drugs that mimic the natural neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine agonists bind to and activate the dopamine receptors on nerve cells in your brain, causing nerve cells to react in the same way as they would to natural dopamine.

Dopamine agonists are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, depression, restless legs syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, low sex drive and hyperprolactinemia.

Examples of these dopamine agonist medications include:

  • For Parkinson’s disease: pramipexole (Mirapex®), ropinirole (Requip®), rotigotine (Neupro®), apomorphine HCl (KYNMOBI®).
  • For depression: pramipexole (Mirapex).
  • For low sex drive: pramipexole (Mirapex).
  • For hyperprolactininemia (excess hormone that makes breast milk): bromocriptine (Parlodel®), cabergoline (Dostinex®).

What are dopamine antagonists?

Dopamine antagonists are drugs that bind to and block dopamine receptors (on the receiving nerve cell) in your brain. This means they block or stop dopamine from being received by the next nerve cell. Many antipsychotic drugs are dopamine antagonists.

Dopamine antagonists are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, nausea and vomiting,

Examples of dopamine antagonist medications include:

  • For agitation in schizophrenia: aripiprazole (Abilify®), risperidone (Risperdal®), ziprasidone (Geodon®).
  • For bipolar disorder: risperidone, olanzapine (Zyprexa®), ziprasidone.
  • For nausea and vomiting: metoclopramide (Reglan®), droperidol (Inapsine®).

What are dopamine reuptake inhibitors?

Dopamine reuptake inhibitors are drugs that prevent dopamine from re-entering and being reabsorbed by the nerve cell that released it. This makes more dopamine available to more neurons in your brain.

Dopamine reuptake inhibitors are used to treat depression and narcolepsy, and to overcome addictions such as smoking, overeating and binge eating.

Examples of dopamine reuptake inhibitor medications include:

  • For depression: bupropion (Wellbutrin®).
  • For narcolepsy: modafinil (Provigil).
  • For cocaine addiction: bupropion, nomifensine, benztropine (Cogentin), mazindol.
  • For stopping smoking: bupropion.

What is levodopa?

Levodopa is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Loss of dopamine is responsible for the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinson’s disease. To help levodopa reach your brain (as opposed to other parts of your body), levodopa is combined with carbidopa. Once it reaches your brain, it’s converted into dopamine.

What’s dopamine’s role in addiction to recreational drugs?

Recreational drugs interfere with the way nerve cells in your brain send and receive messages. Drugs like marijuana and heroin mimic natural neurotransmitters. Other drugs, like amphetamine and cocaine, cause the release of large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the recycling of these neurotransmitters.

Recreational drugs overstimulate your brain’s “reward center.” Over time, with repeated drug exposure, a certain area of your brain becomes less sensitive and you don’t get the same feeling of pleasure from anything else but the drug. Also, you’ll often need to take larger and larger amounts of drugs to produce the same effect. At the same time, another area of your brain becomes more sensitive to the feelings of withdrawal, such as anxiety and irritability, as the drug effects wear off and you’ll seek drug use for another reason — to get relief from this discomfort. So, addiction is a vicious cycle that develops from multiple mechanisms.

Scientists now think that dopamine’s role isn’t to directly cause euphoria, but serves as a reinforcement for remembering and repeating pleasurable experiences. So, when drugs cause surges in dopamine, it’s teaching your brain to remember the experience. Your brain links your drug use and all of your routines and other cues surrounding the drug event. It’s a reason why you might crave drugs when returning to the location where you once used drugs long after you’ve quit.

How can I improve my dopamine levels in a natural way?

You may wish to try remedies that naturally increase dopamine. Further research is needed on the effects of food on neurotransmitters such as dopamine.

  • Eat a diet that’s high in magnesium and tyrosine-rich foods. These are the building blocks for dopamine production. Tyrosine is an amino acid. It’s absorbed in your body and then goes to your brain, where it’s converted into dopamine. Foods known to increase dopamine include chicken, almonds, apples, avocados, bananas beets, chocolate, green leafy vegetables, green tea, lima beans, oatmeal, oranges, peas, sesame and pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, turmeric, watermelon and wheat germ.
  • Engage in activities that make you happy or feel relaxed. This is thought to increase dopamine levels. Some examples include exercise, meditation, yoga, massage, playing with a pet, walking in nature or reading a book.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter and hormone. It plays a role in many important body functions, including movement, memory and pleasurable reward and motivation. High or low levels of dopamine are associated with several mental health and neurological diseases. Much research remains to be done to determine how dopamine works in relation to health conditions and how it interacts with other neurotransmitters, hormones and other chemicals. If you think you have symptoms of high or low levels of dopamine, see your healthcare provider. They’ll review your symptoms, conduct any needed tests and help determine a proper plan of care if a medical condition is found.

Dopamine Effects on the Body, Plus Drug and Hormone Interactions

You might have heard that dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter. In many ways, it is.

Dopamine is strongly associated with pleasure and reward. Of course, it’s not as simple as just that. In fact, there’s a lot more to this complex chemical.

Dopamine is involved in neurological and physiological functioning. It’s a contributing factor in motor function, mood, and even our decision making. It’s also associated with some movement and psychiatric disorders.

We take a look at dopamine’s many roles and the signs that your dopamine levels are off.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made in the brain. Basically, it acts as a chemical messenger between neurons.

Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward.

When you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure, mere anticipation may be enough to raise dopamine levels. It could be a certain food, sex, shopping, or just about anything else that you enjoy.

For example, suppose your “go-to” comfort food is homemade double chocolate chip cookies. Your brain may increase dopamine when you smell them baking or see them come out of the oven. When you eat them, the flood of dopamine acts to reinforce this craving and focus on satisfying it in the future.

It’s a cycle of motivation, reward, and reinforcement.

Now imagine that you’ve been longing for those cookies all day, but your co-workers scarfed them down when you were sidetracked by a conference call. Your disappointment might lower your dopamine level and dampen your mood. It might also intensify your desire for double chocolate chip cookies. Now you want them even more.

Aside from its “feel good” function, dopamine is involved in many body functions. These include:

  • blood flow
  • digestion
  • executive functioning
  • heart and kidney function
  • memory and focus
  • mood and emotions
  • motor control
  • pain processing
  • pancreatic function and insulin regulation
  • pleasure and reward seeking behavior
  • sleep
  • stress response

Keep in mind that dopamine isn’t acting alone. It works with other neurotransmitters and hormones, such as serotonin and adrenaline.

An array of environmental factors also affect your physical and psychological well-being.

The right amount of dopamine usually goes along with a pretty good mood. It’s ideal for learning, planning, and productivity.

Dopamine contributes to feelings of:

  • alertness
  • focus
  • motivation
  • happiness

A flood of dopamine can produce temporary feelings of euphoria.

Low dopamine is one reason you may not be in the best mood. You might have:

  • reduced alertness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • less motivation and enthusiasm
  • poor coordination
  • movement difficulties

Lack of sleep may lower dopamine levels

Lack of dopamine can make you sleepy — but not sleeping may also lower your dopamine.

One small study in 2012 suggests that sleep deprivation can lead to a noticeable reduction in the availability of dopamine receptors in the morning.

Conditions associated with low dopamine levels

Some conditions that may be associated with low dopamine are:

  • Parkinson’s disease; symptoms include tremors, slowed movement, and sometimes psychosis.
  • Depression; symptoms include sadness, sleep problems, and cognitive changes.
  • Dopamine transporter deficiency syndrome; also known as infantile parkinsonism-dystonia, this condition causes movement abnormalities similar to those of Parkinson’s disease.

Very high levels of dopamine can make you feel on top of the world, at least for a while. It can also put you into serious overdrive.

In excess, it may be a contributing factor in:

  • mania
  • hallucinations
  • delusions

Too much dopamine may play a role in:

  • obesity
  • addiction
  • schizophrenia

Certain drugs may interact with dopamine in a way that becomes habit-forming.

Nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs with addictive qualities activate the dopamine cycle.

These substances can cause a quicker, far more intense dopamine rush than you’d get from those double chocolate chip cookies. It’s such a powerful rush that you’re left wanting more — and soon.

As a habit forms, the brain responds by toning down the dopamine. Now you need more of the substance to get to that same pleasure level.

Overactivation also affects dopamine receptors in a way that makes you lose interest in other things. That can make you act more compulsively. You’re less and less able to resist using these substances.

When it becomes more of a need than a want, this is addiction. If you try to stop, you might go through physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal.

Even if you’ve stopped using the substances for a long time, exposure to the substance may trigger your desire and put you at risk of relapsing.

Dopamine doesn’t bear sole responsibility for creating addiction. Other things, like genetics and environmental factors, play a role.

Dopamine also interacts with other neurotransmitters and hormones. For example, the neurotransmitter glutamate is involved in the pleasure and reward cycle in the brain.

A 2014 study looked at how stress and sex hormones affect dopamine neurotransmission during adolescence.

The researchers noted that testosterone, estrogen, and glucocorticoids interact with each other and impact dopamine levels. This can affect brain maturation and cognitive function in adolescence and into adulthood.

A 2015 study noted that neurotransmitters are affected by many things. The researchers wrote that sex hormones are “highly intertwined” with:

  • dopamine
  • serotonin
  • GABA
  • glutamate

These interactions are complicated and not entirely understood. More research is needed to fully understand how dopamine interacts with other neurotransmitters and hormones.

Dopamine’s claim to fame comes from its effect on mood and pleasure, as well as the motivation-reward-reinforcement cycle.

We know that dopamine serves many vital neurological and cognitive functions. Despite a lot of research, there’s still much to learn about dopamine’s interactions with other neurotransmitters and hormones.

See your doctor if you have movement abnormalities, symptoms of a mood disorder, or believe you’re experiencing addiction.

Excess dopamine


Dopamine is a substance found in most living beings and is responsible for the feeling of reward. This is one of the so-called hormones happiness. The fact that there is a fair amount of this substance is of decisive importance for a person. Both its excess and defect can cause serious harm to those who suffer from it, and therefore its regulation is of paramount importance.

In addition to reward circuits, dopamine is involved, among others, in the functions of attention, motivation, memory, pleasure and control motility .

Causes of excess dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system . Let's see why dopamine can be more than is considered normal:

  • Stress. One of the reasons why a person may have high dopamine levels is stress, since this substance is responsible, among other functions, for preparing us to fight or flee in the face of danger. Therefore, ongoing stress can cause an increase in the overall level of this substance.
  • Narcotic substances and medicines. The use of drugs and certain medications can increase dopamine levels. An example of this is nicotine, so tobacco is quite easy to get addicted to because of the pleasurable and beneficial sensations it creates. Medications include apomorphine, deprenyl, and ropinirole.
  • Insomnia . Lack of rest hours can greatly increase dopamine levels as the brain tries to overexert itself to cope with everyday tasks. That is, with the help of dopamine, they try to compensate for the lack of energy due to the fact that he does not sleep.
  • Food. Some foods contain dopamine precursors, so consuming them may slightly increase dopamine levels. These include bananas, almonds and dairy products.
  • Genetics . As with everything, most of the causes of disease are genetics that make us more prone to disease.

Symptoms of excess dopamine

If you have excess dopamine, you may observe the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety.
  • Cognitive acuity.
  • Feeling of pleasure.
  • Hedonism.
  • High energy or hyperactivity .
  • High libido.
  • Insomnia .
  • Mania.
  • Motivation.
  • Productivity.
  • Self-monitoring.
  • Social search.
  • Stress.

Diseases caused by excess dopamine

There are some changes associated with excess dopamine:

  • Parkinson. Parkinson's disease is characterized by a large excess of dopamine in the body. In fact, his treatment is levodopa, a drug that is responsible for lowering dopamine levels.
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia. High dopamine levels and an overactive brain can lead to psychosis or symptoms associated with schizophrenia. In fact, the way to treat the disease is antipsychotics, which are responsible for lowering dopamine levels.
  • Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder goes from a depressive phase to a manic phase. It has been observed that an excess of dopamine is produced during the manic phase. This is why antipsychotic drugs are often used in this disease to relieve the symptoms of this phase.

How to regulate dopamine levels?

Dopamine regulates very important functions such as memory, sleep or mood. That's why it's so important to regulate dopamine levels. There are different ways to reduce this excess dopamine:


Antipsychotics are drugs that lower dopamine levels. They are very common in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. In case of Parkinson's disease , levodopa is very commonly used for this function, although neuroleptics are sometimes also used.


In addition, diet rich in various foods that help increase serotonin levels can also lead to a corresponding decrease in dopamine. On the other hand, there are other types of L-tyrosine-rich foods that are best avoided, such as caffeine, dark chocolate, duck, oatmeal, cheese, and chicken, in addition to those mentioned above.

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Dopamine system breakdowns / Sudo Null IT News

Neurotransmitter associated with attention and motor activity

Dopamine is best known as the "hormone of happiness" or the neurotransmitter associated with addiction. However, in addition to these functions, it plays a prominent role in a variety of diseases, including drug addiction, schizophrenia, and Parkinson's disease .

As researchers learned more about the biochemistry of the brain and how it works in general, as well as how specific chemicals work, their understanding of this key element has grown by leaps and bounds. As a result, the diagnosis and treatment of dopamine-related diseases are constantly improving.

Chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, are called neurotransmitters. This word reflects their function - they transmit chemical messages between neurons (brain and nerve cells). Outside the brain, dopamine is a hormone.

Each neurotransmitter performs different functions and affects several areas of the brain. They perform different functions in different areas. For example, in the motor centers of the brain, dopamine is responsible for motor activity. And in the training areas, he works with attention.

To transmit messages through the nervous system, a neurotransmitter "binds" to a receptor specifically designed for it. Just like a key goes into a lock. Dopamine can only interact with neurons that have dopamine receptors.

When the activity of a neurotransmitter is disturbed, this leads to the appearance of symptoms associated with its normal role. This is called neurotransmitter dysregulation .

We hear or read about "low" or "high" levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, but in many cases, experts are not sure what exactly causes the symptoms:

  • Abnormal levels, as if the brain is producing too much 1 or too little 2 .

  • Abnormal receptor sensitivity, that is, "locks" on neurons do not respond properly to dopamine as a "key".

  • Too few receptors, that is, dopamine can interact with fewer neurons 3 .

  • Too many receptors, i.e. dopamine can interact with more neurons 4 .

According to a study published in 2020, the areas of the brain most affected by dopamine are the motor cortex and the insular cortex (lobus insularis), but its influence extends far beyond them. 5

The motor cortex is responsible for the planning, control and execution of voluntary movements. The insular cortex plays a role in maintaining homeostasis, which maintains the body at the right temperature, signals that you are hungry, regulates the heartbeat and breathing, and in general, everything works according to the set parameters.

Relationship with norepinephrine

The body produces norepinephrine from dopamine, they bind to the same receptors and work together to perform many functions. Research suggests they may even be produced and released from the same cells.

How dopamine works

Dopamine is believed to play a role in many important bodily functions, mainly those related to mental performance, emotional response and physical reactions.

These include 6 :

  • In behavior, including motivation, punishment and rewards

  • Cognitive functions, including training and working (short -term) memory

  • arbitrary movements

  • perception perception perception of perception

  • Sleep and dreams

  • Mood regulation

Although commonly referred to as the hormone of happiness, it actually makes you happy only when it comes to rewards and motivation.

For example, when you taste your favorite ice cream, you get a dopamine boost, which makes you happier and therefore more motivated to try it again. Even the anticipation of a reward can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. 7

Low dopamine

Symptoms of low dopamine activity can affect many areas of health and life. They vary depending on the area of ​​the brain where dopamine or dopamine activity is lacking.

Symptoms of insufficient dopamine activity include:

  • Muscle stiffness, sensation of stiffness and pain.

  • Tremor. 8

  • Muscle cramps or spasms.

  • Decreased balance and coordination. 9

  • Characteristic gait (way of walking), often including small, shuffling steps.

  • Impaired fine motor skills (for example, the ability to hold a pencil or thread a needle).

  • Constipation.

  • Problems with eating and swallowing.

  • Cognitive impairment ("head fog").

  • Difficulty in focusing attention. 10

  • Fatigue.

  • Lack of energy.

  • Slow movements or speech.

  • Mood swings.

  • Low sex drive.

If you have experienced some of these symptoms together, you may not even have known that they might be related. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the symptoms so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated.

High dopamine

High dopamine and excessive dopamine activity in the brain can be debilitating, but some symptoms can be seen as an advantage, especially when it comes to learning.

High dopamine activity is associated with:

  • Anxiety.

  • Excess energy or manic states.

  • Increased feeling of stress.

  • Improved concentration and learning ability.

  • High sex drive.

  • Insomnia.

  • Aggression.

  • Hallucinations.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you have some of the more severe symptoms such as hallucinations and aggression.

Study dope

The impact of dopamine on learning has led some high school and university students to take dopamine-boosting drugs in the hope of doing better on tests. This practice is not recommended by medical professionals due to the many potentially dangerous side effects.


A wide range of medical conditions are due to dopamine problems. Some of these are considered psychological, others are classified as physiological, and still others may be a mixture of the two. Regardless of how the disease is classified, it is associated with very real disorders in the brain.

Dopamine related mental illnesses include:

  • Addiction.

  • Schizophrenia.

  • Depression.

  • Bipolar disorder.

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • Compulsive overeating.

Dopamine movement disorders include:

Some conditions classified as central sensitization syndromes involve dopamine dysregulation, including:


The role of dopamine in reward and motivation is a key aspect of addiction. Whether it's drugs, food, gambling, shopping, or sex, having "pleasure" gives the brain the pleasurable sensations that dopamine creates. The brain can crave these sensations to an unhealthy degree, and prompts you to repeat the behavior that results in the release of dopamine.

Technology and social media addiction

There is a lot of media coverage of the idea that technology - especially smartphones and social media - is turning many people into drug addicts. It's a controversial topic, but some experts say it's a real threat.

Perhaps the constant social media rewards (such as getting "likes" and "shares") set up the same cycle of dopamine release and motivation to repeat the behavior that leads to addiction.

In 2019, the Journal of Behavioral Addictions published a study that showed parallels between people with excessive social media use and those with substance abuse and behavioral addictions. 11

Other mental/behavioral disorders

Some mental and behavioral disorders are associated with dopamine dysregulation.


Dopamine plays a role in mental disorder — schizophrenia . Other neurotransmitters, including GABA and glutamate, may also be important. 12

Past generation antipsychotics block the action of dopamine in the brain, and the fact that they often relieve symptoms of schizophrenia is strong evidence that dopamine is the culprit. However, some newer antipsychotics also relieve symptoms of schizophrenia without affecting dopamine.

The main symptoms of schizophrenia include:

Major depressive disorder (clinical depression)

Low dopamine activity is associated with some symptoms of major depression including lack of interest and motivation. 13 The neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine are also thought to be involved in clinical depression, and antidepressants generally target these two neurotransmitters rather than dopamine.

Bipolar disorder

Both high and low dopamine activity are suspected to be involved in bipolar disorder , which provides a possible explanation for the two phases of the disease: manic (extreme highs) and depressive (extreme lows). 4

An excess of dopamine receptors and an overactive reward network may underlie the manic phase of the disease. Meanwhile, decreased levels of a substance called the dopamine transporter may contribute to decreased dopamine function and depression. A common problem may lie in the regulation of dopamine, and not just the ups and downs. 4

Some symptoms of bipolar disorder are sometimes treated with antipsychotics, which reduce dopamine activity.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD includes difficulties with attention, working memory, impulsivity and hyperactive behavior. This is thought to be due to low dopamine activity, possibly due to certain genetic mutations that affect dopamine. 14

ADHD is often treated with stimulants or antidepressants, which, in theory, either increase dopamine production in the brain or make dopamine more available to neurons, slowing down certain processes. 15

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Dopamine, along with serotonin and glutamate, is thought to be dysregulated in OCD anxiety disorder. With OCD, people have obsessions (intrusive thoughts or images that cause significant emotional distress) and compulsions (behaviors that a person does to reduce upsetting obsessions).

In OCD, there may be a decrease in dopamine receptor activity, as well as increased dopamine activity in some areas of the brain. 16 Most OCD medications include antidepressants, which alter serotonin but not dopamine function.

Compulsive Binge Eating (BED)

BED involves repetitive, rapid eating of large amounts of food accompanied by feelings of loss of control and feelings of shame, distress, or guilt. Dopamine dysregulation has been proposed as one of the possible biological explanations for this condition, as it is associated with impulse control and reward centers in the brain. 17

BED is sometimes treated with certain medications that can interfere with dopamine.

Movement disorders

The role of dopamine in the motor cortex of the brain is very important for the muscles to make smooth, controlled movements. Insufficient dopamine activity in this area is associated with several diseases.

Parkinson's disease

In Parkinson's disease dopamine-producing neurons are destroyed, resulting in a chronic lack of dopamine. 9Ol000

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. It is treated primarily with drugs that convert to dopamine in the body, increase dopamine levels, or mimic the effects of dopamine.

Huntington's disease

Huntington's disease is a progressive genetic disorder with both motor and non-motor symptoms. It is caused by destruction of a part of the brain called the striatum, which is an important part of the motor and reward system. 8

Symptoms of Huntington's disease include: 8

  • Uncontrolled movements

  • Cognitive problems 9Speech and swallowing problems Huntington's disease may be accompanied by symptoms seen in psychiatric disorders associated with excessive dopamine activity, including psychosis , aggression and impulsivity. These symptoms are sometimes treated with atypical antipsychotics.

    Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

    RLS is a movement disorder that causes strange sensations and involuntary leg twitches during sleep or when you are relaxed. These movements can prevent you from getting a deep enough sleep and cause sleep deprivation even after you normally spend enough time in bed.

    In people with RLS, some parts of the brain are deficient in iron . In addition, there are abnormal levels of dopamine in the brain. The relationship between low iron levels and high dopamine levels is not yet understood, nor is it clear why these factors cause RLS symptoms.

    However, some research suggests that genetics and hormonal abnormalities may also play a role. 20 Many drugs used to treat RLS are also used to treat Parkinson's disease.

    Central Sensitization Syndromes

    Central Sensitization Syndrome is a generic term for a related group of conditions associated with central nervous system hypersensitivity, which may include dysregulation of dopamine and other neurotransmitters. This causes abnormal responses to stimuli.


    Fibromyalgia may be accompanied by hypersensitivity to pain signals , light, noise, noise, aromas, temperature, and sometimes to certain foods. Research points to an association with low dopamine activity. 21

    Symptoms of fibromyalgia that may be associated with dopamine deficiency include:0118

  • restless legs

  • Problems with a dream

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Medication, Difficulty

  • Difficulties with Gluttings 9000.9000 Fibric which directly act on dopamine, since treatment is directed more at serotonin and norepinephrine .

    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)

    ME used to be called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and these abbreviations are often combined as ME/CFS or CFS/ME.

    This is a neuroinflammatory disease associated with low activity of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. It is characterized by severe fatigue as well as extreme sensitivity to stress and environmental factors (eg noise, heat , chemicals).

    Symptoms of ME/CFS that may be associated with low dopamine activity include:

    As with fibromyalgia, ME/CFS treatments often target neurotransmitters other than dopamine. However, the ADHD drug methylphenidate is sometimes prescribed off-label for ADHD, 22 and does increase dopamine levels. 23

    Drugs that affect dopamine

    Several drug classes are used to treat conditions associated with dopamine dysregulation.

    Dopamine 9 agonists0003


    Atypical antipsychotics

    Atypical antipsychotics are newer drugs that reduce dopamine activity in the same way as typical antipsychotics and also affect serotonin. They treat the same conditions as the older generic drugs, but with fewer side effects.



    1. Brisch R, Saniotis A, Wolf R, et al. ( The role of dopamine in schizophrenia from a neurobiological and evolutionary perspective: old fashioned, but still in vogue ). Front Psychiatry. 2014;5:47. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00047

    2. Masato A, Plotegher N, Boassa D, Bubacco L. ( Impaired dopamine metabolism in Parkinson's disease pathogen ). Mol Neurodegener. 2019;14(1):35. doi:10.1186/s13024-019-0332-6

    3. Gurevich EV, Gainetdinov RR, Gurevich VV. ( G protein-coupled receptor kinases as regulators of dopamine receptor functions ). Pharmacol Res. 2016;111:1-16. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.05.010

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