Sunday, April 7, 2013
Dopamine is one of the many neurotransmitters found in the human body. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that essentially transmit signals from the nervous system to other cells. Since the nervous system (including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves) is the "control center" of our bodies, these neurotransmitters play important roles.
Dopamine has long been associated with things that gives us pleasure, such as food, drugs, and sexual activity. More recently, researchers found that it's also released in stressful situations. It is now thought of as responsible for motivation and the pleasure of motivation, or the "reward system". It is also involved in physical motor behavior, and in emotional arousal. This explains why Parkinson's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Depression and possibly ADHD are often associated with abnormally low dopamine levels, or abnormalities in the dopamine receptors of cells, as these are disorders that involve either poor motor function, low or disorganized "motivation", or emotional response.
Disclaimer: Once again, I'm not a doctor, and none of this should be used for medical advice. I just love science and find beauty in it as well.