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The science of craving

Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

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The science of craving

The science of craving

https://www.1843magazine.com/content/features/wanting-versus-liking

1843magazine.com

9

Key Ideas

The reward system

The reward system in our brain exists to ensure we seek out what we need. If eating nutritious food or being smiled at pleases us, we try to secure more of these stimuli. However, seeking pleasure can also result in people becoming addicted, indebted or overweight.

Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

Potential clinical application

We cannot explain away our minds by brain mechanisms. Brain mechanisms are part of our minds.

Understanding that desire and dread, for instance, share the same brain operations, could help ease schizophrenia symptoms by restricting a particular dopamine neuron that produces fear.

Pleasure and desire

One of the key things in pleasure is that it comes in cycles. 

The hungry desire state before a meal could produce pleasure from the anticipation of good food. Then, while eating, pleasure dominates, but desire could still come for more salt or a drink until satisfied. If we switch to the desert, we can prolong the pleasure again.

Music and social pleasure

The closest we can come to hold on to pleasure is in music. It is a tension-and-release kind of thing that can keep you going for a long time, waxing and waning, desiring and enjoying.

Music also tends to unite us - dancing with someone is more fun than doing it alone. It's all about other people and social pleasure.

Reasons for craving

Addicts, for instance, crave drugs even after years of abstinence because addictive substances hijack the dopamine system and change it permanently.

When exposed to addictive substances like cocaine, heroin, alcohol, nicotine and even sugar, neurons are releasing more dopamine, and also growing more receptors for a transmitter that makes them release the dopamine. It is a permanent physical change.

Dopamine as a motivator 

Our brains can also become sensitized to prompts. The Pavlovian conditioning was used on rats to link a particular cue to cocaine or sugar. The rats ended up desiring the cue more than the drug. The same may apply when checking our phones.

Advertising and availability are also tempting cues prompting us to want.

Novelty activates dopamine

Something as simple as dropping your keys once will fire dopamine neurons. But, if you drop them a few more times, the neurons will get bored and stop taking notice.

The market economy has increased the dopamine-wanting system. If you can give the consumer novelty, they will continuously want more.

Taming the dopamine desires

The best way of resisting is not to linger over the temptation, but to decide to move away from it, as witnessed in the marshmallow tests.

Mindfulness meditation may also help. It's not that meditation makes the wanting go away - it's giving the more cognitive mind a way of distancing itself from the urgency of those wants.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors :

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction
  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

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Health Benefits Of Music
Health Benefits Of Music

Music has been shown to play a role in healing our bodies and increasing our health and happiness. Studies show that music relieves pain in patients, and also relieves stress and anxiety...

Limitations in the Findings About Music
  • There is still ambiguity if listening to or playing the music causes the benefits.
  • It is not known if stimulating or relaxing music is doing the healing.
  • It is not known if the music is the person’s favourite music or of his liking, as opposed to something chosen by the experimenter.
  • There are several other factors like a group playing vs individual playing of music, or a large random trial, which needs to be looked at in the future
Rewards and dopamine
Rewards and dopamine

Our brains compute 3 things about reward: how much will we get, how soon will we get it, and how certain are we that we will in fact get it. 

And it’s when the probability of a re...

Why video games are so addictive

Games are enticing because you might win but you might not. And video games do it so efficiently, because they ride the tide of computer technology. The balance between winning and losing is continuously adjusted, according to how well you’re doing, as measured in hits and misses, gains and losses, moment by moment. The sweet spot knows you, it finds you. It adjusts to you.