Dopamine is the neurotransmitter underpinning
all activity in the mesolimbic reward pathway in
the brain, sometimes called the dopaminergic
reward pathway in acknowledgment of this.
Whenever the brain recognizes that you’ ve done
something it approves of (drunk water while
thirsty, escaped a perilous situation, been sexually
intimate with a partner, etc.), it typically rewards
this behavior by causing you to experience brief
but often intense pleasure triggered by the release
of dopamine. And pleasure makes you happy,
right? The dopaminergic reward pathway is the
brain region responsible for this process.

Of course, endorphin neurotransmitters are the
“Big daddy»
pleasure-causing chemicals,
Whether they are released from gorging on
chocolate or due to the rush of sex,
provide that oh-so-wonderful intense giddy warm
sensation that permeates your very being.°
The potency of endorphins should not be
underestimated. Powerful opiate drugs like heroin
and morphine work because they trigger the
endorphin receptors in our brains and bodies.’

They’re obviously pleasurable
(hence the alarming number of people who use them), but
these drugs are also clearly debilitating.
in the grip of an intense opiate «high» isn’t much
good for anything other than staring into space
and occasionally drooling. And some estimates
suggest that heroin is only 20 percent as potent as
naturalendorphins! We have substances five
times as powerful as the most intoxicating
narcotic just hanging around in our brainsit’s a
wonder we get anything done at all.
While it’s bad news for pleasure seekers, it’s
good news for the functioning of the human race
to hear that the brain uses endorphins very
Most typically, the
endorphins in response to serious pain and stress.