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What Are the Benefits of Increasing Dopamine Levels?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated May 17, 2024
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In the brain, neurotransmitters help facilitate the transmission of electrical impulses among neurons. One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, and it is thought to play a significant role in the body's movements, motivation, decision making, and mood. Increasing dopamine in the brain may help to treat many illnesses. It may also help individuals to recover from and resist problems chemical addiction.

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that affects movement. During the course of this disease, cells in the brain are destroyed, including the cells that create dopamine. Patients with Parkinson's disease gradually become unable to control many of the body's movements because of the lack of dopamine in the brain. Treating this disorder's symptoms involves increasing dopamine levels using certain medications that mimic the neurotransmitter. Unfortunately, actual dopamine can not be used because the disease prevents it from entering the brain.

Depression and its symptoms are thought to be related to a lack of dopamine in the brain as well. When a person is depressed, symptoms like a lack of motivation and a reduction in the pleasure he or she experiences in life may be persistent. These symptoms are thought to be caused by lower levels of dopamine. Many doctors prescribe medications that increase dopamine in the brain to help those suffering from major depression. Increasing dopamine is also thought to help with depressive moods in those who have bipolar disorder.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects both children and adults and is thought to be caused by lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Those who have ADHD will often have a difficult time paying attention, may act impulsively, and can be hyperactive. Increasing dopamine in the brains of those with ADHD through the use of medication has been shown to help with these symptoms.

People whose brains show evidence of low levels of dopamine are thought to be much more likely to struggle with addiction. This may be because the increase of dopamine caused by certain drugs and foods can lead users to feel a noticeable increase in positive mood, especially if their dopamine level was below average. Medications can be used to help prevent individuals recovering from addiction from experiencing extreme dopamine withdrawal from while fighting addiction, or a doctor may instruct the addict on how to naturally begin increasing dopamine in the brain. These natural methods may include eating the right foods, exercising, and taking natural supplements.

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Discussion Comments
By geekish — On Oct 26, 2011

I see a therapist and make time to see my family and friends at least once a week, which seems to help my mood and motivation a lot.

I honestly believe that surrounding yourself with positive people can help your mood and motivation for the better. I don't know if this actually increases dopamine, but it seems like it does. I feel a quite drastic positive mood and motivation increase when I am around positive people, especially positive people whom I am also close with.

Also taking time to do positive things for yourself and others seems to increase my dopamine levels, because my mood and motivation seem to substantially increase during such activities. I do not know if there is any scientific evidence to support this statement either though.

By snickerish — On Oct 25, 2011

As a person who has suffered with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, I know all too well how low levels of dopamine can significantly negatively impact your mood and motivation level.

Now I take a generic form of Prozac, which seems to help me a lot day to day with my mood and mental issues. Fluoxetine, the generic form of Prozac, seems to be a God send for me, giving me a new lease and positive outlook on life.

I also try to eat healthy and exercise regularly too. Changing my diet and exercise has helped me out a lot, especially with my mood and mental issues.

By aaaCookie — On Oct 25, 2011

@sherlock87- In addition to diet, another really good way to improve dopamine levels and other mood-enhancers naturally is through exercise. Study after study has shown that people who exercise have lower rates of depression, attention disorders, and other problems. It won't fix everything for everyone, but it can be really helpful in addition to things like antidepressants as well.

Plus, exercising can increase serotonin, too, which is important for helping your brain control things like appetite and sleep.

By sherlock87 — On Oct 25, 2011

@letshearit- I have read a lot about things like foods to increase dopamine and other good chemicals in the brain, and really almost all fruits and vegetables can help in this area. If a person is really interested in naturally preventing depression or other issues related to dopamine, a vegetarian or at least mostly vegetarian diet can really help.

By letshearit — On Oct 24, 2011

@lonelygod - If you want to learn how to increase dopamine in your system naturally I would suggest looking up foods that increase dopamine.

Increasing dopamine naturally with food is easy and I am sure you will be happy with the results. For myself I started by adding more apples, bananas, beets, watermelon and beans to my diet. All of these foods offer various vitamins and minerals that can really give your body the dopamine boost you are looking for.

Another thing you can try is to buy supplements to increase dopamine. I haven't tried this myself but it might be worth a try if you have the extra cash.

By lonelygod — On Oct 24, 2011

Can anyone tell me how to increase dopamine levels without a prescription? Are there any natural ways to increase dopamine?

I have suffered from depression on and off for years and have tried a lot of natural cures, as well prescription drugs. I would like to find a way of increasing my dopamine levels naturally in hope that it will help regulate my moods better.

My mother also suffers from depression and I think it may be hereditary. I worry that without a more natural cure that we may continue to suffer from our conditions for the rest of our lives.

By anon218422 — On Sep 29, 2011

Thank you for the information!

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