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Dopamine: Is it Good or Bad?

Joshua Rei V. Nacpil After losing almost 12 kilos when I was in second year college, I started to gain weight again, a dreadful thing that came into my life. I am at 80+ kilos right now and I need to lose weight or else I wont fit in my uniform. I always say that I would start jogging tomorrow, yet I ended up smashing my phone when it alarms, I need to be motivated
Figure 1 Photo credits: media.challengeofabigman.com; www.buzzle.com

When I successfully woke up every early in the morning and started to jog, after a few minutes of jogging I started to feel like I want to exercise even more. I wonder why it is happening, after some research I found out that when exercising, different chemicals in our body are being released, one of which is Dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is being released when you experience some emotional events, addiction, and pleasurable experience. It is released in the hypothalamus, which is situated under the thalamus and above the pituitary gland. Dopamine is known as a Prolactin-Inhibiting Hormone, as the name implies, it inhibits prolactin secretion. Prolactin is also a hormone that is being released when you experience stress, thus the name stress hormone is given to prolactin. When dopamine is released, euphoria is being experienced by the person, you may compare it like when you have havent eaten chocolate for a long period of time and eventually you have eaten a bite of it, it was like heaven!

Figure 2 Photo credits: Tortora and Derrickson

One of ways on how dopamine is released is by exercising daily for at least 20-30 minutes; another is modifying your diet. Its effect doesnt end in the feeling of euphoria; it also kindles the part of the brain which is responsible for the motivation to attain rewards. Dopamine also plays in the control of muscle movement. But researches show that dopamine is also responsible for addiction. Different drugs are addicting in such way that the drugs pharmacological effect is that it will stimulate the production of dopamine, giving the drug-abuser a euphoric feeling. Examples of these drugs are cocaine,
Figure 3 Photo Credits: www.bnl.gov

heroin and methamphetamine. Dopamine is not tested within the usual clinical laboratory examinations; it is

measured by its activity using Positron Emission tomography. Dopamine deficiencies or diseases are Parkinsons disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In Parkinsons disease, dopamine levels are significantly low. Since dopamine is also responsible for muscle control, shaking and any movement that cant be controlled is evident on low levels of dopamine, Parkinsons at that. Low levels of dopamine are also seen in patients with ADHD such that treatment or management of this disorder includes drugs that induce dopamine production. As I already a while ago, it is also involved in addiction to drugs. And recently, I have watched a news program that says dopamine is being released when a person is drinking alcohol. I have a hypotheses that dopamine is released when drinking alcohol or even before drinking alcohol is due to that these people are thinking alcohol is some sort a reward, a pleasure. As I have discussed, dopamine is also released when you are motivated to achieve a reward, in this case, alcohol serves as a reward. Dopamine, one of hypothalamus released hormones is a very unique chemical that has vast functions that researchers are still trying to discover. A good thing and a bad thing, thats what describes dopamine the best, a hormone in your body that would motivate you to achieve good things but it can also motivate you to be addicted to drugs. God gave us a complete package, different parts, with different functions. It is up to us now how would we exploit this God-given gift, should we use it to motivate us to strive to obtain something or should we just let it be a reason why a person couldnt remove addiction to drugs. Should you stimulate dopamine production for a good thing or for a bad thing? Think.


Books Bishop, M.L., Fody, E.P., Schoeff, L.E. (2010). Clinical Chemistry: Techniques, Principles, Correlations 6th edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Chapter 19 Tate, P. (2009). Seeleys Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. McGraw Hill. Chapters 11 and 15 Tortora, G.J., Derrickson, B.H. (2009). Principles of Anatomy and Physiology 12th edition. C&E Publishing. Chapter 12 Jameson, J.L., De Groot, L.J. (2010). Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric 6th edition Volume 1 and 2. Saunders Elsevier. Chapter 8 and 73 Jameson, J.L. (2010). Harrisons Endocrinology 2nd edition. McGraw Hill. Chapter 2

Online Journals Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Causes of ADHD (2012). Retrieved April 13, 2013 from the World Wide Web: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-causes Activation of the dopamine 1 and dopamine 5 receptors increase skeletal muscle mass and force production under non-atrophying and atrophying conditions (2011). Retrieved April 13, 2013 from the World Wide Web: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=34738e0a-0973-4f88-880c6b1142a3e051%40sessionmgr11&vid=1&hid=26&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&A N=59163643 Doheny, K. (2011). Does Dopamine Explain Why Slackers Slack? Retrieved April 13, 2013 from the World Wide Web: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20120501/does-dopamine-explain-why-slackers-slack Triarhou, L.C. (2013). Dopamine and Parkinson's Disease. Retrieved April 13, 2013 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK6271/ Berridge K.C., Robinson T.E. (1998). What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience?. Retrieved April 13, 2013 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9858756

Other 2013, April 17. Pag-inom ng alak ay nagpapalabas ng Dopamine. 24 oras (Program). Quezon City, Philippines, GMA 7