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May 2, 2012
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello everyone, this is my first post on this site. I don't really think at this time I will be going into the medical field (don't really want the responsibility for individuals' lives and well-being), but am studying Biochemistry and would like to pursue enzymatic or neurochemical research someday.

Anyway, over the past few days I have found it is nearly impossible to find a community with answers on relatively recent medical/scientific research. This looks like a wonderful knowledge base though, so I am optimistic.

A google search on dopamine on a tangent from a presentation I am giving (and because the brain is incredibly intriguing) led me to a online message board where someone mentioned similar, more short-term concerns. I had a first meeting with a PhD psychologist through my school today, however she referred me to someone with more medical training when I asked about chronic, synthetically induced dopamine elevation.

I could trudge through the countless papers in the journal databases, but I can't refine my search properly; everything is about rats (obviously due to ethical concerns) and extremely specific scenarios. Additionally, next week is finals week and I don't have the time or glucose to spend on it. So I defer to a fairly sizable think-tank.

To the point (sorry I'm long-winded): I guess in some way or another for many years I have artificially--virtually, digitally, and chemically--induced prolonged, heightened concentrations of dopamine in my brain. From about age 6 or 7 I learned the easy reward of videogames, a year or two later ordering "adult programming" on the cable box. Obviously I wasn't an addict at that point, but due to many circumstances as I hit high school I learned to cope through videogames, porn (not obsessively, but routinely), caffeine, and marijuana soon after.

I have smoked marijuana pretty much every day for eight years, played a lot of videogames (varying widely and periodically between 0 and maybe 80 hrs on a given week), easily average an energy drink and 28 oz of soda per day over the past several years, watch internet porn about 2-4 times/week when I am not in a relationship, have smoked cigarettes for six years, had a pretty intense 8-month love affair with cocaine several years back, and really do enjoy any stimulant.

Additionally, to compound my concerns, I recently was diagnosed with ADD, and prescribed methylphenidate (I'm sure you're all familiar with it here), which which is a dopamine/norephrine reuptake inhibitor.

Basically, regardless of any other medical consequences, I would really like to know the long-term prognosis for consistently (artificially) increasing my dopamine levels by any means available.

Obviously, any time you externally stimulate a biological pathway regularly, over time the organism will down-regulate its natural, baseline operation. I can see the effects manifested; lack of motivation, being underwhelmed by my own successes, introversion, etc. and have realized it's about damn time to do something about it.

While I would be interested in the exact mode in which my sort-term reward circuitry has been effected--is it due to lower baseline levels of dopamine? have I just fried my dopamine receptors? did they degrade and my body decided I have enough already? are they just degrading faster than they can be produced? do they degrade at all...?-- I am asking about my brain's ability to make a complete recovery.

One thing I am unequivocally NOT asking for is any kind of psychoanalysis or suggestions to quit my addictive behavior (they will be redundant). I guess I am open to very basic, general suggestions and exercises as far as opening up to strangers and acquiring interests that don't inherently increase dopamine levels.

Thank you very much!


Former jolly good fellow
15+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2004
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Attending Physician
Going to have to shut this thread as interesting as it is. You're asking us for medical advice online that goes against the standard and ethics of medical care.

I will direct you to look into this on your own using several available sources of data such as or google scholar and you should ask your treating doctor, and he/she is supposed to, by federal law, answer your concerns over the long term risks and benefits of the medication he/she is prescribing you.
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