Dopamine Deficiency: Signs, Reasons, Risk, Treatment, And More

a man holding a glass of alcohol and a cigar

Dopamine is a hormone that plays a vital role in feeling happy, which can be triggered by food, smoking, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc.

It is also responsible for the pleasure and reward feelings, which is why is also known as the pleasure neurotransmitter.

Dopamine is used to treat lower blood pressure, low heart rate, and cardiac arrest (1).

Studies have shown that increases in dopamine in the striatum (a part of the brain) can motivate people to perform harder physical work.

But, triggering excessive dopamine through illegal ways can become a bad habit, which even leads to death.

Dopamine deficiency, and triggering high or too-low dopamine can lead to various health issues such:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • may lead to depression (2)
  • addiction
  • a mental disorder like ADHD, schizophrenia, etc
  • RLS (rest leg syndrome)

Low deficiency can happen due to a drop in the amount of dopamine, which occurs due to various health issues.

Signs of Dopamine Deficiency

Here are some common symptoms of dopamine deficiency which include:

  • Lack of focus on work
  • Feel low
  • Decrease motivation
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • An inability to feel pleasure
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Concentration
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Poor memory
  • Resting tremor
  • Aches and pain
  • Low body weight
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • People are more at risk of disease, due to low immunity.
  • Low body movement and speaking are slow
  • Frequent cold, cough, and common illness
  • Drugs use
  • Mood swings
  • Decrease self-confidence and esteem
a man holding a glass of alcohol and a cigar

Reasons for Dopamine Deficiency

First understand how dopamine is made, which will make it simple to understand its reasons.

NOTE: Dopamine is made of Tyrosine and Phenylalanine, which is essential, that we get from our diet, which is converted into the amino acid tyrosine.

When tyrosine is made, it goes into our brain, where it is made into dopa, which is converted into dopamine by DOPA hydroxylase and vitamin B6.

A study showed that those with higher dopamine levels were more likely to focus on the benefits and choose difficult mental tasks.

Whereas those who have lower dopamine levels were more sensitive to the difficult task.

Here are the most common reasons for dopamine deficiency levels in the brain which include:

  • Mental disorders like depression, chronic stress
  • Low nutrition intake especially iron, folate, vitamin B6, etc
  • Certain drugs like antipsychotic drugs reduce dopamine levels and tend to cause anhedonia
  • Age-related issues
  • Hormonal changes, especially in women during menopause, pregnancy, and period cramps can trigger this situation.
  • Not having enough Tyrosine and Phenylalanine amino acids. Dr. Janelle Sinclair, says.
  • Parkinson’s disease (4)
  • Poor insulin response means – tyrosine cannot be transported into the brain.
  • Adrenal dysfunction

However, a diet high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat can suppress dopamine.

Dopamine Deficiency and Depression and Stress

Along with other neurotransmitters in the brain, dopamine works in many vital parts of the brain like the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, etc.

This part of the brain is used during intelligence, emotion, control, and memory.

Depression is linked with a low level of neurotransmitters, which are triggered by lots of factors, and in this factor, the level of dopamine is vital.

As we know that dopamine is a feeling of reward, but low-level dopamine causes a lack of motivation and loss of interest.

Which gradually over time can associate you with depression due to both external and internal reasons.

People who suffer from depression can easily be affected by the dysfunction of the dopamine system.

NOTE: Stress, anxiety, lack of motivation, feeling alone, etc reduce dopamine levels, which can lead to depression.

Research on rats found that repeated treatment with the antipsychotic quetiapine for the chronic mild stress of depression effectively reversed the decrease in dopamine activity.

Make sure to manage your stress, and anxiety levels by positively affecting dopamine levels, like with adventure riding, etc.

Dopamine and ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) also called ADD, usually begins in childhood (9).

In a normal person, dopamine released leads to pleasurable situations, which stimulates a person to reward situations.

But ADHD people don’t have a normal level of dopamine in the brain, as a result, their reward systems work differently (10)

A study found that the amount of grey matter in the brain may contribute to ADD more than levels of dopamine.

Exercises and plenty of sleep play a vital role in balancing your dopamine levels, which can help manage ADHD.

However, research has also shown that low-level dopamine is not only responsible for ADHD but high levels of dopamine.

NOTE: researchers have shown that a lower level of dopamine is allied with ADHD but suggest that increasing dopamine levels can treat ADHD (11).

How Specialist Diagnose It?

There is no specific tool that can find out how much a person has a dopamine level.

Doctors can measure the density of the dopamine transporter that associates with nerve cells that use dopamine.

If a person has a low dopamine level, so the doctor checks their symptoms, lifestyle, and any previous or current medical issue (9)

If the doctor comes to know something through the symptoms, and medical history, then this may indicate a low dopamine level.

What Should Be Avoided?

Here are some common food, and things, that should avoid, that highly trigger your dopamine level are:

  • Illegal drugs like nicotine, cocaine
  • Avoid Sugar, you can eat jaggery instead
  • Saturated fats, like coconut, palm oil, animal fat, and butter, may create a disturbance in normal dopamine levels.

Ways To Boost dopamine level

There are many ways to boost dopamine levels, which include:

  • Certain foods like bananas, curd, chicken, almonds, walnuts dairy products
  • Nutrients like vitamin D, omega-3 supplements, and magnesium.
  • Certain medicines, but they should be taken only on the advice of a doctor like – cabergoline, apomorphine, bromocriptine, etc
  • Physical activity like – exercises, outdoor gaming, sex, yoga-like Surya namaskar, etc
  • Massage
  • Change in diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Meditation
  • Activities that make you feel good or enjoy, such as eating, cooking, playing with kids, pets, etc.
  • Listening to music, especially rock, and pop songs.
  • Dark chocolate, but an insufficient amount.

Down Line

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone and having more or less dopamine can cause many health-related issues and may interact with life.

With Consistent use, the drugs lose the ability to reward, and higher doses are required to feel the same happiness, which leads to a drug overdose.


Hello, I'm Sahil bisht, I am a Mechanical engineer, As well as, aspiring blogger with an obsession for health. This blog delicate to people who want to learn in health.

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