The Neurotransmitter: Dopamine

The brain is a very complex organ of the human body system. It is a very interesting subject on how the each part of the brain works in order to coordinate the rest of our body. There are different resources and technology that allows researchers to understand the structure and function of our brain. It is also interesting how neurotransmitters communicate with the brain and neurons. Of all the neurotransmitters presented in the textbook, I have chosen dopamine. This neurotransmitter is important to the body since it helps body movements and the muscles (freely and voluntarily) and controls human behavior like sleep and mood. It also affects a person’s attention and the ability to learn (1)***.

Low levels of dopamine can deal with Parkinson’s disease. This has to do with the body slowly shutting down because the lack of dopamine. Then body will enter a dysfunctional state (2)***. In general, a person with a low level of dopamine will have trouble, and it could become a problem, with concentrating to complete daily tasks and even moving around as the disease starts to spread. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) will also show a low level of dopamine. Either the child can be focused on doing something for his or her parents and then run off and do something else or not be attentive of listening to the teacher at school. Also, the child could be very hyper with too much energy or have problems sitting still in one place for a certain period of time (3)***. On the other hand, having too much dopamine can lead to the mental disorder called schizophrenia. People over the age of eighteen would most likely have this psychology disorder. People with this mental disorder will start to go crazy and have an overload of thought process which will lead them to thinking that people are trying to kill them for some reason or another. Also, this patient may think people are controlling them and you could even see them (4)***. They are literally going crazy. They are over thinking and have excess dopamine.

If a person has a low level of dopamine such as Parkinson’s disease, the neurotransmitter is not doing its job to get released and allow the brain and body to get the right about of this chemical substance in order to function correctly. The neurotransmitter has to process through the frontal lube of the brain. In the process of the flow, dopamine can either be released as too little chemical or too much. Too little dopamine cut off most of what frontal lube needs in order to properly function. If there is too much and not equal in the limbic system and not enough in the cortex, then not be successful in understanding what the brain should do in order to allow us to think or use any mental skills (5)***. The frontal lube controls what the dopamine neurotransmitter should allow us to such as thinking, using the muscles, human personality, and our emotions (1)***.

In order to treat any mental illness or disease we must use drugs either legal or illegal. Dopamine receptors are activated by drugs that will make us feel high and sometimes they leave us feeling dreading daily activities and tired. They are to stimulant the brain and allow researchers to conduct various experiments from the effects of using such drugs. Drugs can either be agonist that copies or produce more of what a neurotransmitter does or antagonist that will cause the drug to be blocked and take no effect of the neurotransmitter (1)***.

People with a low level of dopamine or most likely have Parkinson’s disease can be treated with L-DOPA or levodopa. This will help increase the lack of dopamine a person may be receiving. However, the combination of Levodopa-Carbidopa is what will be actually given out as treatment. Levodopa is a central nervous system agent that will convert to dopamine so it will be admitted to the brain and carbidopa will then make sure that the levodopa will not break down as it enters the brain (6)***. This medicine is an agonist since it acts serve as the neurotransmitter. This is also used to treat people who have dystonia that causes the muscles to get out of control and involuntarily be controlling body part (7)***. Some of the side effects that a person could face include, but not limited to vomiting, constipation, a person could also a change of taste for food or the way the food tastes like, difficult swallowing, depression/suicide thoughts, and red blood stools.

There are several drugs that could be given as choices to those who may have schizophrenia or any of the relative symptoms. There are numerous amounts of drugs a person can choose from when they show sign or have schizophrenia. However, they should first check with the doctor to see which drug is best for them and their condition that they may have. There are two main categories of drugs of schizophrenia- first general antipsychotic and second generation antipsychotics and there could also be given a combination of drugs as well. Randomly choosing a drug from the Yahoo Health list, I chose Abilify (aripiprazole) (8)***. Adults and adolescents between 13 and 17 can be treated with this medicine; however, they should be aware of any effects or aftermath once they are in the habit of taking the pill or liquid. Abilify helps to bring the high level of “overdosed” dopamine to a controllable manner. In other words, this drug is to ensure that the unbalanced chemical substance can be brought back down to proper condition (9)***. People who may be hearing voices, depressed, having hallucinations, and thoughts of others are going to kill them can take this drug that will benefit them as an actor of the dopamine neurotransmitter. Possible side effects are serious risk of having a stroke (especially for the elderly), movements of the body that the person is having that they can not control, a dramatic change of the heart rate, and problems with diabetes (10)***.

By looking that all of the side effects and special notes that are listed on the website about Abilify, this medicine could help some and for others it could put their life at risk. I believe I can say from reading and doing a lot of researching that a person can not have either too little or too much of the chemical substance dopamine.


  1. Laura, King A. Psychology.