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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

Natural rewards stimulate dopamine neurotransmission.

Natural Rewards Elevate Dopamine Levels, graphs showing increase in dopamine levels from natural activities like eating and sex

Eating something that you enjoy or being stimulated sexually can cause dopamine levels to increase. In these graphs, dopamine is being measured inside the brains of animals. Its increase is shown in response to food or sex cues. This basic mechanism of controlled dopamine release and reuptake has been carefully shaped and calibrated by evolution to reward normal activities critical for our survival.

This page was last updated July 2008