The central nervous system depends on a series of chemicals that activate and regulate certain elemental functions. This is the case of hormones and neurotransmitters, together they work in such a way that the effects of each one of them allow multiple mechanisms to be continued. One of them is called dopamine, which is directly related to motivation, pleasure and concentration.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that performs multiple functions, including memory, movement, and the ability to learn. This is produced in the brain of human beings and also of animals, its production is essential to guarantee autonomy and survival. It is also associated with behavior, cognition, mood, sleep, and attention.

Basically a neurotransmitter is a chemical substance that is capable of transmitting information from one neuron to another. In the case of dopamine, it is synthesized in different areas that belong to the central nervous system; the most important is the brain. For more specific zero, the highest concentration of it is found in the hypothalamus, the same one that regulates prolactin secretion in the pituitary.

Dopamine depends on dopaminergic neurons In order to function because it is the primary neurotransmitter, they are distributed throughout the central nervous system. It participates in multiple brain functions, among which the most important are memory and learning. However, it is more recognized for the pleasant stimuli it generates. It also regulates behaviors and cognitions such as humor, sleep, motor activity and attention.

What are their characteristics?

This substance works as a chemical messenger that allows most of the functions of the central nervous system to be carried out. Specifically, it is responsible for activating the 5 cell receptors identified as D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. Like other neurotransmitters, dopamine associates with neurons to establish direct communication. In this way, they generate zero physical and emotional sensations identified as pleasant and relaxing.

It is distributed in different regions of the brain and in each one of them it exerts a different task. A good example is how you allow energy levels to rise considerably. This is how people show more motivation and competitiveness, also when there are adequate levels we can react effectively to danger. Help that state of mind stay positive, consequently the behavior will be much better adapted to the circumstances.

As for how it influences the physiology of the system, it is remarkable how it helps regulate metabolism. This means that most of the functions of the central rabid system depend largely on dopamine. How it is associated with the processes of inhibiting pain, even allowing people to enjoy their sexuality more by allowing them to feel pleasure in different areas of the body. On a psychological level, it promotes the processes of seduction and desire. 

Its duties?

Dopamine is one of the chemicals that are associated with the pleasure process that happens within the brain. To be more specific, dopamine has a direct effect on the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

There are several components that are secreted during the experimentation of pleasant and stimulating situations, consequently that is why dopamine is considered necessary to maintain a good mood . Therefore, the practice of activities such as sex, eating, laughing and even sports; they are all proven stimulants that are always recommended to increase your production.

Another of its functions is related to short-term memory , they are due to the fact that an amount of this substance accumulates in the prefrontal cortex. It is necessary to maintain the proper balance of dopamine levels to ensure that there are no memory deficiencies. They also contribute to attention and concentration. Controlling the secretion of this substance plays an important role in the treatment of patients who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

When dopamine is in the frontal lobes of the brain, it helps control the flow of information that is stored in this area. When there is a deficiency, it is observed that cognitive functions decrease notably, as is the case with problem solving. People are no longer autonomous and efficient when trying to perform certain activities.

To enhance memory, the D1 and D4 receptors will be responsible for the dopamine to have the desired effects. When there are problems in this regard, antipsychotics are taken, the same ones used to treat schizophrenia; that have a direct effect on D2 receptors.

When there is an imbalance in the amount of dopamine within the system it negatively affects essential functions. The Parkinson is a disease that is generated from the deficiency of this substance . It is characterized by involuntary movement of the muscles, which is why it is common for patients to have spasms that cause tremors and uncontrollable movements.

Dopamine is distributed throughout the body through D1-5 receptors. It is capable of reducing the effects caused by neurons indirectly, it replaces them in a way that increases the effects of the direct neuronal pathway of the basic ganglia, for which a sufficient amount of dopamine is required. An example of how dopamine deficiency affects health is observed in the slowing down of body movements and incoordination. On the other hand, when there is an excess, repetitive tics are generated.

Also Dopamine is a neuroendocrine inhibitor, for which regulates the secretion of prolactin in the anterior pituitary gland. Because it is produced in neurons located in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, the blood vessels supply the substance to the anterior pituitary. Thus, the lactotropic cells that are responsible for producing prolactin will only be able to do so when there is an absence of dopamine.

Finally, mention should be made of how dopamine influences social functioning. Having a proper balance of this substance allows people to have better control of anxiety and social phobia . It has also been observed how it influences schizophrenia when there is deficiency, causing apathy and social anhedonia. Similarly, in bipolar disorder, hypersexual and hypersocial states typical of manic states are associated with increased dopamine. In these cases, antipsychotics are administered to block dopamine.

How is their segregation generated and increased?

Dopamine is generated from dopaminergic neurons found in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain. To be more specific in the nucleus of the hypothalamus, in this section of the brain are ganglia that secrete substances that regulate movement.

Dopamine is associated with serotonin of which it is an endorphin, together they act in a way that can regulate mood promoting an increase in energy. Both in turn intervene in other daily processes such as sleep and appetite, even when performing physical activities both increase their levels considerably.

Doctors regularly recommend that patients limit facing high levels of stress , this is because it promotes the decrease of dopamine in the body. Trying to maintain a good quality of life in general keeps hormones and neurotransmitters stable. Also, trying to get a good amount of sleep each day is the best thing to do with regard to dopamine.

Other examples of how it can be improved to increase its production with exercise, should be practiced regularly and combined with a diet rich in antioxidants. You should also avoid eating foods that have saturated fat. 

In the case of people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, drugs such as levodopa (L-Dopa) will be administered progressively , these allow to increase dopamine levels and also restore normality in the mobility of the body.

When a patient has been diagnosed with depression , also when there are problems in relation to the decrease in mood; In both cases, medical treatment will be based on monitoring dopamine levels in the blood. Some antidepressants are specially formulated to help increase dopamine and serotonin.

Dopamine together with melatonin together regulate changes in brain activity that designate what the sleep and wake cycles are . Typically, these substances are released during the night, while during the day dopamine further increases its release to inhibit the production of melatonin. The reaction of this process is to stay active and in constant attention, on the other hand, when these levels fall, then during the day there is a feeling of sleep.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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