Healthy vs. Unhealthy Dopamine

by Charles Lyell on October 28, 2012

Healthy (biological) dopamine

Healthy dopamine involves logical means to biological ends. For example, the dopamine that keeps “dumb” animals making smart, healthy, life-sustaining choices, such as ingesting just enough wholesome edibles to ensure survival.

Unhealthy (bioillogical) dopamine

Unhealthy dopamine turns illogical means into bioillogical dead ends unto themselves. For example, the dopamine that tricks potentially sapient animals into making dumb, unhealthy, life-threatening choices, such as consuming excessive quantities of unwholesome foods for the sole purpose of triggering more dopamine.

There is only one addiction and it’s to dopamine.

Our primitive ancestors perverted the natural dopamine-induced survival behaviors Homo sapiens share with chimpanzees into unhealthy addictions. Abraham Maslow called them deficiency needs for food, sex, safety (power), acceptance (peer-approval/attention), and esteem (status).

Our more recent ancestors added unnatural money, religion, and drug addictions to the mix, along with self-deceptions and denials that allowed them to rationalize their bioillogical dopamine cravings. Then they passed down the cravings, deceptions, and denials that make it impossible for most people to understand, or want to understand, that our forebears are the reason so few are able to admit to both benign and destructive addictions.

Examples of dopamine-induced bioillogical behaviors:

  • Drug addictions that destroy health, lives, and families.
  • Gambling addictions that cause seeming rational individuals to lose life savings.
  • Money addictions that keep venal addicts lying, cheating, and stealing. 
  • Food addictions responsible for the growing obesity epidemic.
  • Sex addictions that manifest as sexual abuse, deadly STDs, and unwanted children predisposed to highly addictive behaviors.
  • Safety addiction that turns easily threatened cowards into craven bigots, racists, and scapegoaters who can’t admit to being grossly insecure.
  • Power addictions that keep destructive psychopaths behaving like conniving chimpanzees. 
  • Acceptance addictions that send needy types groveling for approval and attention.
  • Esteem addiction that prevents normally open-minded individuals from wanting to understand how dopamine-depleting threats to their esteem closes their minds to factual information that explains how dopamine is doing their thinking for them.
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