Dopamine makes you addicted to wanting to improve yourself, eat healthy, be active, wanting to explore.
But, we’re being told dopamine promotes addiction to drugs, food, bad behavior, etc. But that’s incorrect. It’s a dysfunctional dopamine system that leads to overeating on yummy tasting foods that sends the consumer into euphoric heaven.
Taking that first bite of the food from a fast food joint is like taking a hit of cocaine. So why does junk food even taste so good, or why does it make some people feel so good? It’s because they have LOW dopamine.
People with obesity and diabetes have low dopamine levels. Thus every dopamine releasing stimulus they get is huge, which is reinforcing. In a normal healthy person with high dopamine, every dopamine releasing stimulus they get is much smaller, which also gives pleasure, but to a much more controlled level.
Dopamine is responsible for determining salience.
This chemical is released in response to receiving a stimuli, remembering anything that might be related to that stimuli, figuring out how to deal with the stimuli and finally in the expectation of what will happen now that you've dealt with the stimuli.
Dopamine let's us encode what's important (i.e. what to attend to) and what's not (i.e. what we can ignore and still be fine). Drugs of abuse cause massive availability of dopamine (either directly, like amphetamines, or indirectly like alcohol). Also, dopamine is released in response to aversive stimuli as well. So you can think of dopamine as being really important for learning new things and ranking them based on importance.
Increased dopamine via releasers or by an agonist effect, would increase risk taking, which is why it may temporarily help depressed people reach for their unpredictable goals. They feel more manic and risky.
Many regions are designed like dopamine filters to create a kind of cellular politics. Dopamine is voting. Action is the votes that win and make it to muscles. First layers are very thought based.
And our thoughts are not very different from muscles being stimulated. They are just groups of cells being stimulated. I mean, clearly I don't mean every dopamine receptors is motivation.
So how can I naturally optimise my dopamine levels?