When dopamine is released into our brain it gifts us with the pleasure that guarantees we’ll develop basic survival habits that motivate eating, reproducing, exploring new possibilities, and causing us to get out of harm’s way, or to defend ourselves against danger.
Dopamine feels good, and in healthy doses dopamine is essential to our sustained existence. So what’s not to like about dopamine? Its pleasures, can easily and quickly morph into an addiction. A member of the opioid family, dopamine is capable of hijacking our minds and bodies like its close cousins, cocaine and amphetamines.
When it’s running the show, we’re in trouble, especially since it requires no exchange of money or connections with risky dealers. We’re always making it right between our ears.
In the right amounts we’re set up for successful careers, satisfying relationships and good health. Dopamine out of balance? Lose 10-15 IQ points. We become susceptible to serious health problems, social dysfunction, and financial catastrophe.