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  1. Just wondering. Aren't all addiction linked to a lower dopamin level in individual's. From food addiction to alcoholism, cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine and opiates. There seems to be a latter as if when you dont get enough dopamin (and other signal substances) you just up the drug or use more of it. If this was the case the all addicts are born wit an insufficiency in their signal substances?

    About Author

    39 year old male living in Stockholm, Sweden. Got addicted to oxycontin after a serious accident witch almost killed me. Drew the doctors attention to my addiction a year ago and since then It´s gotten totally out of control.


  1. RaoulDuke32
    It's a chicken or the egg type question. Some people are born with the genetic predisposition towards addiction, neurologically or otherwise, and some have altered their brain through drug use.

    Addiction has to do with the reward system (dopamine-glutamate) and the nucleus accumbens. When you have sex, eat dessert, shoot up, it's dopamine that sends the signal "hey this stuff is good, remember that!". Glutamate shoots back with "roger that, chocolate good, heroin much, much better"
    The nucleus accumbens regulates motivation and action. Like a conscience. When you think "is this a good idea?" It's the nucleus accumbens that regulates your response time in weighing pros and cons. In an addicts brain both of these systems have been hijacked. There is no motivation or impulse control. Impulsive behavior is the norm. The reward system no longer registers food, sex and other pleasurable activities because the drug has now eclipsed them.

    It's interested me because I never saw how dopamine (a stimulant) could play a role in opiate or downer addiction, but that's what it comes down to.

    This is also why I believe cocaine and stimulants to be the most destructive in many ways. They act on dopamine primarily, really short circuiting the reward system. I could be totally wrong, remember I'm just some guy on the internet.
  2. aemetha
    @RaoulDuke32 you're on the right track, but some of the detail is a little off.

    Dopamine isn't a stimulant, nor is it the primary neurotransmitter activity involved in stimulants. Norepinephrine is responsible for the CNS stimulant properties, and is the primary neurotransmitter involved in most stimulants by affinity. There is some overlap though, both dopamine and norepinephrine are monoamines and almost invariably release of both is caused by stimulant drugs. Opioids don't directly cause the release of either (they act on endorphin receptors), but they do as a secondary effect cause the release of dopamine.

    Drugs aren't targeted in the same way that neural circuits are. When neural circuits are activated, they are activated discreetly (i.e. just the specifically relevant ones). When drugs activate receptors they do so globally (a blanket approach). This is why the secondary effect of opioids causes dopamine release without the stimulant effects of norepinephrine - the neural circuits are doing it in response to activation of the endorphin receptors, rather than the drug acting directly on the dopamine and norepinephrine receptors.

    This is obviously simplified, but I think it addresses your question/comments?
  3. Imaddami
    Thanksome for the knowledge. Bow my head in awe!
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