Psychological Addiction of Dopamine –Is High Dopamine Good?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in cell communication. Dopamine is one of the most hyped brain chemical messengers that transmit signals to the neurons in the brain and other cells in the body. 

Let's take a look at what dopamine does psychologically and what is the negative effect of increased dopamine?

Addiction of Dopamine, Dopamine

Psychological Addiction of Dopamine – The Reward Chemical

The term ‘reward’ depicts a broad context here. When you receive an SMS from your bank at the end of the month when your comment on social media gets multiple positive reactions. When the package is delivered that you ordered online, all these contexts come under the umbrella of dopamine. Let’s not dive into the scientific depths but discuss some of the major impacts dopamine has in our lives.

There is a certain amount of dopamine present in the human brain. That normal dopamine level is ~30pg/mL (picogram per milliliter). A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram. Since we are discussing one of the most prominent brain chemicals, dopamine has been highlighted more than ever before because of the generational shift. This chemical is responsible for activating our mood, pleasure, and motivation. Although its physiological effects are important, we’ll learn them some other time.


The quantity of dopamine in the nascent human of today is much larger than in geriatrics. Also, humans are top on the list of Primates Having the Most Dopamine. From the anthropological perspective, the paradigm shift in lifestyle, workspace, and overall environment has increased the level of dopamine inside a child’s brain.

Read Here: Different Types of Neurotransmitters and Their Functions

Is High Dopamine Good?

Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter for survival. Larger amounts of dopamine regulate motivation and reward-driven behavior and make people feel good.

Having too much dopamine may also be dangerous, and one primary example is addiction.

Having too much dopamine is associated with being more competitive, aggressive, and having poor impulse control. It can lead to more risk-taking, addictive behaviors, mental disorders and conditions that include ADHD, binge eating and gambling.

The effects of overly high dopamine levels include high libido, increased energy, difficulty sleeping, mania, anxiety and stress.

All potentially addictive substances and behaviors — including stimulant drugs, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, shopping, video games, gambling, cell phone use, internet dependence, online pornography, and so on — flood the brain with abnormally high levels of dopamine.

What’s the Negative Effect of Increased Dopamine?

As Christmas is approaching, let’s assume something from a real perspective.

People love to send and receive gifts on this occasion. The act of giving and receiving plays an important role here. You are a 12 years old young man who cherishes the moment of such light and delight. Your brain captured the image of Christmas eve that on December 25, everyone’s home will be decorated with fairy lights and Christmas trees. Being a kid, you will receive a Christmas gift from Ellen’s favourite things. So much fun, sweets, and recreation.

Dopamine is triggered when you personally receive something. Here, you got a gift from your aunt. But once you took the gift, that feeling of happiness moved to somewhere else. Like, “The gift I have received is awesome, but I guess I wanted something else, or tbh, something better!” What does this imply?

Dopamine was there before the act of receiving. It urged you to receive something. Why? Since your brain functions in the same way after watching what’s going on around you, just like that, on every Christmas eve, you will expect to receive something better than the previous year. Dopamine makes you work on that to get something. It motivates you so that you can get what’s of your interest. It pushes you to the extent that other people become vulnerable to you. That’s the power of dopamine.

If your dopamine level increases and you realize that it’s directing you towards a risk, understand that there is something going wrong. Your brain triggers dopamine so that your actions make you feel better. It can be anything like taking a drug, gambling, fulfilling carnal desires, even giving pain to others.

An Experiment

One experiment you can do to analyze the situation of dopamine in kids. If a toddler with a tablet is watching a cartoon, snatch the tablet. Make sure that your kindness prevails, but snatch it anyway. In the quickest moment, that kid will go aggressive. What happened in just a couple of seconds?

As the tablet got removed from the front of the eyes of the toddler, the brain discharged dopamine. That triggered the kid to get the tablet back to fulfil the emptiness of joy watching the cartoon. That kid will become rash, and if you resist, you will hear agonized squeals from the kid who was all happy and normal a few seconds ago. This release of dopamine is in greater quantity as compared to the kids of Gen X & Y. Now give the tablet back and apologize!

As far as the level of dopamine is concerned, it should neither be too much nor too little in quantity. People having low dopamine levels tend to get depressed easily. They struggle to be happy. Their lifestyle pushes them to see the negative side of whatever they do. They become something beyond pessimists.

What Should You Do Now?

The brain’s chemistry develops in the primary years of childhood. There are other factors involved, too, like harmonic structure, genetics, behavioral neurology, and a child’s development that affect the reactions associated with dopamine. You can try to understand the emotional behavior of the kid and teach him/her how to be patient. This way, the dopamine level will remain normal. In adults, there are several types of medication, but before moving to clinical treatment, it’s better to change the lifestyle and the perspective towards life. 

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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