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  • Writer's pictureMarie

Dopamine dysfunction, depression, delusion and diseases

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

One of my passions is listening to experts in their field. Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to Dr Sophie Andrews on a NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia) live chat where we could ask questions.

In alignment with my fascination of polarities Sophie touched on the subject of Dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter and clinical and neuropharmacological evidence indicates that Parkinson’s is caused due to a lack of dopamine and conversely schizophrenia is caused due to an excess of dopamine. Specifically, Parkinson’s disease may be caused by a block in the striatal receptor (the corpus striatum is part of the basal ganglia and controls cognition, reward, and coordinated movements, hence affecting motor function mood and decision making.)

Dopamine is not just released as a reward in response to an action, the mere anticipation of an event can also raise dopamine levels. So, if you get joy from drinking or eating, you can trick your brain by smelling those items and imagining that you have already consumed them - the brain will trigger dopamine.

The cycle of motivation, reward and reinforcement goes on. When trying to understand mood disorders I was fascinated to learn that if you had planned to eat some chocolate as a reward, this will heighten your mood as you look forward to your chocolate treat. However, if you go to eat the chocolate and your friend has eaten it, this could potentially lower your dopamine level which in turn will drain your mood, not only will this impact negatively from a mood perspective but the desire to address your compulsion will intensify. This equates to unmet expectations and losing your mojo so when you can manage your expectations and hold yourself accountable without expecting too much from yourself and reward your efforts - You will be happier.

The correct amount of dopamine is the ideal environment for learning, planning, and productivity. Good dopamine levels help you attain focus, motivation and alertness; however lower levels can be related to stagnation, reduced ability to concentrate and less motivation. Sounds pretty simple right - I’m spending too long sitting down so I need to motivate myself to move, which in turn will increase dopamine and result in feeling happier. I mean a flood of dopamine can bring about euphoria, who doesn’t want that?

You need to be careful because too much dopamine can make you manic, hallucinate and have delusions. Dopamine is attached to your reward centre so addictive qualities can activate the dopamine cycle and before you know it when you feed the rush you increase the desire and things become insatiable, so you will need more of your guilty pleasure in order to achieve the same pleasure level.

Dopamine also affects blood flow and digestion, as well as how we process pain. Balancing your dopamine in alignment with other neurotransmitters and hormones, such as serotonin and adrenaline will help with stabilising your moods and assist you with positive outcomes.

To help you avoid burnout - celebrate your wins, learn to treat yourself at certain milestones and don't just keep plugging away, take time to smell the roses. Depression is not just about telling you to go for a walk - sometimes a win is if you got out of bed today, maybe you managed to take a shower, we need to stop victim blaming people for suffering from depression. Small steps lead to positive reinforcement. Introduce new habits over a period of time - that could look like drinking 2 litres of water a day or reducing screen time. Taking out 5 minutes a day just for you - to do whatever is good for you. It could be calling a friend, staring into space, enjoying a warm shower. What is most important is that you discover what floats your boat - You discover what gives you joy.

When your brain becomes chemically imbalanced, you may notice some different behaviours, what used to give you joy now becomes intolerable to you - what you feel is normal, your friends may question. Instead of looking outside of yourself for reassurance from others, this is a time to go within. Check in with yourself what your needs are - No-one can tell you what your needs are, they can only give you some hints based on what they find fulfilling.

With the latest research in neuroscience What you are facing now is NOT your destiny, Neuroplasticity is shown to have positive effects physically, mentally and cognitively if you exercis. Research is showing you how you can create better habits taking into account ageing, personality and psychological factors in combination with your unique circumstances. The habit lab in Amsterdam is coming up with innovative methods to measure habit changes. Know yourself and make the changes for you at your pace and at a speed conducive to your levels of expectation.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between cognitive decline due to normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It's characterized by problems with memory, language, thinking or judgment. Research is showing that there are critical windows during adolescence which impacts how we think and feel about ourself. Considering this in alignment with the stages of brain development during childhood, you start to see a pattern develop. With the right support and assistance and the right intervention you can make changes. The map is not the territory - your choice to change can happen if you get the appropriate support.

There is emerging evidence to suggest that you hold the key to your health and self healing. Cessation of smoking and reduction of alcohol are quick wins on the path to health recovery. The MIND diet ( has been shown to slow cognitive decline and there is social anecdotal evidence emerging that if you suffer from depression, there is a high risk of subsequent dementia. So as well as changing your diet, take opportunities to be social and don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed by exorcise. Start small - spend less time being sedentary, limit screen time and take small opportunities for incidental exercise.

Face Reading Sydney uses Psychosomatic Therapy to help you Discover where you have closed down, nurture those parts that you awaken and align your brain and body, your mind and emotions

Marie is a qualified Master Practitioner and Teacher in Face Reading, Psychosomatic Therapy and NLP. With more than 15 years of experience, Marie brings a unique blend of skill and discernment into these untapped spiritual disciplines. Marie offers inspirational insights into your inner self and personal potential. Reach out to Marie via

" My passion is to make a difference to people, empowering them to be their best. This can be achieved by increasing their self awareness,

and maintaining a bodymind balance."

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