God built into the body a reward system. Certain things trigger a release of dopamine and this brain chemical gives us a brief burst of pleasure and satisfaction. Maybe it’s the high of reaching the top of a mountain. Maybe it’s watching your child perform in a play. It’s the satisfaction of completing a project. And it’s eating a Twinkie.
Yes, it can also run amuck with drugs and food addiction. What is designed to bring our life pleasurable moments can play against us. One Twinkie is so nice, two are better. Dopamine operates in the brain. Everything we do from morning to evening is driven by reward. We are people striving for rewards. We want either the reward of satisfaction and pleasure or the reward of avoiding pain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson’s disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is also associated with sensation seeking.
Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of highly addictive drugs
When things are going well we reward ourselves with food. We enjoy the comfort and reward of the dopamine fix. Soon the brain starts shutting of the dopamine receptors. Now one Twinkie isn’t enough, two aren’t enough, and three aren’t enough. You need a whole package. Soon your reward system isn’t working.
Stayed tuned for more on rewards.
The Hunger Fix, Dr. Pam Peek http://www.drpeeke.com