Gülfem Rana Dikici

Department of Psychology, Istanbul University Faculty of Letters, Istanbul, Turkey

Keywords: Addiction, dopamine, mesocortical, mesolimbic, nucleus accumbens, reward


Addiction is based on common cellular, molecular and neurochemical mechanisms involving multiple neural circuits. The origin of addiction is the activation of the mesolimbic and mesocortical reward system, which is stimulated by natural motivational systems. Dopamine is the most studied neurotransmitter due to its strong reactive system in the brain and its strong association with many addictive substances. The addictive effect of substances develops in the brain with increased dopamine secreted by dopaminergic neurons from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens. Addictive substances provide more stimulation compared to natural rewards, enhancing the stimulus-drug relationship abnormally, and excessive motivational power allows learning to be attributed to stimuli from the substance. There are some associated systems that provide dependence on the reward pathway in which dopaminergic neurons play a role; prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus are among the affected structures at the beginning of the dependency cycle.

Cite this article as: Dikici GR. Ethology of Addiction and Dopamine. JEB Med Sci 2020;1(1):28-31.

Conflict of Interest

The author declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The author received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.