Dopamine and Reward
Professor Trevor Robbins explains that the reward system, where dopamine mediates messages to the nucleus accumbens, is artificially activated by certain drugs.
So the concept of the reward system is a part of the brain where natural rewards, like food and water, maybe sex, exert their effects to change behavior. These effects are thought to occur via the activity of the dopaminergic, the dopamine neurotransmitter system, sending its messages to the nucleus accumbens, this structure in the base of the forebrain. It is commonly thought that drugs of abuse hijack this system. They short-circuit the system by producing some of the rewarding effects that natural rewards normally produce, but without their other aspects. So, this probably is a bad thing because the other sensory qualities of the rewards are not there. But that in general is what we mean by reward system.
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Professor Trevor Robbins explains that drug addiction involves chemical and neural processes with dopamine and the nucleus accumbens particularly important.
Professor Trevor Robbins explains that the dopamine system is a group of cells originating in the midbrain whose function may be to prepare the brain to think, move, and anticipate rewards.
The idea that drug addiction is a result of 'learning gone wild' was bolstered by several reports.
Doctor Larry Young discusses how vasopressin and oxytocin contribute to the reward system, which can promote behavior such as bonding and drug addiction.
Doctor Jon Lieberman discusses three neurotransmitters that have been associated with depression - dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses the function of a set of structures called the basal ganglia, which seem to be involved in response selection.
Doctor Abraham Zangen discusses the key structures underlying the brain reward system, a complex neural network that includes the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus.
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses ADHD in relation to noradrenaline and dopamine, both of which are enhanced by ADHD medications such as Ritalin.
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses whether ADHD is a disorder of the noradrenaline system.
Doctor Abraham Zangen point out that dopamine and BDNF levels in the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus of depressed patients are different. Treatment with antidepressants or ECT can impact these differences.