Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nicotine Effects On Dopamine Receptors

Nicotine Effects on Dopamine Receptors

Nicotine has an effect on the brain that stimulates responses. Essentially, nicotine fires up receptors within the brain which causes a release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. This effect can cause pleasure which may trick the brain into believing that it needs more of the stimulus to achieve the same effect, thus leading to addiction.

Reward Pathway

When a person becomes stimulated by a response, whether through drugs or anything that is derived as pleasurable, this is known as the reward pathway. Because of the pleasure received, the dopamine receptors become chemically dependent on the nicotine.

Allelic Variation

Allelic variation is a type of gene found inside the dopamine receptor that predisposes a person to becoming easily addicted to nicotine. A person with this trait is more likely to have issues with quitting smoking.

Womb Exposure

Dopamine structures that are exposed to nicotine within the womb (from a pregnant mother who smokes) can be altered which will then result in changes of brain structure, and how you respond to addiction as an adult.

Memory Trace

The brain creates a response that results in memory derived from the experience of nicotine. As a result, the brain will trigger receptors to reward the brain by inhaling nicotine again.

Habit Forming

Since brain receptors are unable to block out pleasure signals, it becomes difficult to control the impulse of wanting to smoke.

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