There are situations in which increasing levels of dopamine can be beneficial and clinically useful.
One example is the drug Welbutrin (also known as buprenorphine), which increases dopamine and norepinephrine.
Welbutrin was developed as an alternative treatment for depression, as some people who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) experience side effects such as decreased appetite, decreased libido, or increased appetite.
Welbutrin seems to avoid these sexual side effects and can even decrease appetite, but it can also increase anxiety and create a state of elevated alertness that can interfere with healthy eating habits.
It’s important to work with a clinician, such as a psychiatrist, to find the correct dosage of Welbutrin for each individual.
While Welbutrin can provide relief from depression and be helpful for those trying to quit smoking, it’s not suitable for everyone.
Some people have had success with Welbutrin where other SSRIs have failed, but it’s important to carefully consider the potential side effects and work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment.
“Now, there are circumstances in which increasing levels of dopamine is desirable and advantageous and clinically helpful. Good example of this would be the drug Welbutrin, also called buprenorphine, which increases dopamine and norepinephrine. Welbutrin buprenorphine was developed as an alternative treatment for depression because some people who take the so-called SSRI, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which as the name suggests, increase serotonin, suffer from serotonin related side effects. Things like decreased appetite, decreased libido, or sometimes increased appetite or other side effects that they don’t want.
And Welbutrin seems to avoid the sexual side effects. It can blunt appetite and these sorts of things because of the increase in norepinephrine and dopamine increases levels of motivation and craving, but also can create a state of elevated alertness that can sometimes get in the way of healthy eating and things of that sort. So one has to work with their clinician, as a psychiatrist, it is a prescription drug, in order to find the dosage of Welbutrin that’s correct for them.
In addition, things like Welbutrin buprenorphine can increase anxiety because of the way that dopamine and norepinephrine are stimulating and tend to place people into heightened levels of alertness. Nonetheless, many people have gained terrific relief from depression, from Welbutrin buprenorphine, and many of those same people had serious trouble with some of the SSRIs. So it does seem to be a very useful drug in certain contexts, both for depression and for the treatment of smoking, for people desiring to quit smoking.”
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- Dopamine’s Impact on Lifestyle: Insights from Huberman
- Dopamine’s Impact on Motivation: Andrew Huberman
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