How does dopamine work?

Andrew Huberman AI:

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in our motivation, focus, and satisfaction. Here's how it works:

  1. Release Mechanisms: Dopamine can be released in two ways - locally or broadly. Local release, or synaptic release, happens when one neuron influences another neuron. Broad release, or volumetric release, is when dopamine is released to a large number of cells. Both these types of releases can be influenced by drugs or supplements that increase dopamine levels.

  2. Dopamine and Motivation: Dopamine is responsible for movement, motivation, and drive. It stimulates action in general because it releases an excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate. This makes certain neurons more active, increasing our levels of alertness and readiness to pursue things.

  3. Dopamine as a Currency: Dopamine is a universal currency for moving us toward goals. The amount of dopamine in our system at any given time, compared to how much was there a few minutes ago, and how much we remember enjoying a particular experience in the past, dictates our quality of life and our desire to pursue things.

  4. Dopamine and Anticipation: Dopamine is released into the brain and body in anticipation of a reward, making us feel activated and motivated. However, when we receive the reward, dopamine levels drop back down to baseline.

In summary, dopamine is a complex neurotransmitter that influences our motivation, anticipation of rewards, and overall sense of satisfaction.