≡ Menu

High Dopamine Levels: Symptoms & Adverse Reactions

Most people have heard of the neurotransmitter dopamine and understand that it’s release is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in reward and motivation behavior. Most rewards such as: food, sex, drugs, etc. are all capable of increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. Just before an orgasm, dopamine levels are considered at their “peak.”

In addition to playing an integral role in motivational and reward processes, dopamine is involved in motor control as well as triggering a release of various hormones. High levels of dopamine tend to enhance concentration, boost mood, and have a pro-social effect. Anyone that’s taken a psychostimulant medication like Adderall has gotten a first-hand experience of the psychological outcome of elevated dopamine.

Within the body, dopamine widens the blood vessels, by inhibiting norepinephrine release. It also helps us excrete sodium and is able to reduce levels of insulin. Dopamine also serves to protect your gastrointestinal tract and improves immune function. While maintaining sufficient dopamine levels is beneficial for mental health and physical functioning, too much dopamine can create dysfunction.

High Dopamine Levels Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Understand that many of the symptoms associated with high dopamine can also occur with high or low levels of other neurotransmitters. Since each person likely has a unique blend of neurotransmitters, it is very difficult to pinpoint specifically which neurotransmitters are elevated unless he or she ingested a specific drug. Also realize that one individual could experience anxiety from high norepinephrine and another from high dopamine.

Additionally a person’s neurobiology, brain structure, and genetics will also influence symptoms a person experiences from high dopamine. Two people could have equally high levels of dopamine, but entirely different symptoms may result. This could be due to differences in dopaminergic receptors and how each brain processes the dopamine. Below is a list of symptoms that could stem from high dopamine.

  • Agitation: Those with high dopamine may feel internally restless and overstimulated. While sufficient dopamine can actually help some people stay calm, abnormally high levels can make a person feel internally nervous and knotted. It may be difficult to sit still for long periods of time.
  • Anxiety: Some people may feel more anxious when dopamine levels increase in certain parts of the brain. This may be due to dopaminergic receptor dysfunction as well as the specific areas of the brain that experience the dopamine elevations. This is generally why some people with anxiety disorders feel more anxious with dopamine reuptake inhibitors (DRIs).
  • Cognitive acuity: People call amphetamines “speed” for a reason – it makes their cognition speed up and their mental performance improves. It seems like other people are functioning in slow-motion whereas the user is locked in a state of peak performance. Heightened levels of dopamine are associated with improvements in cognitive function such as memory, learning, and problem solving.
  • Feelings of pleasure: Activities provide more pleasure to those with high levels of dopamine. Even relatively mundane activities such as writing, watching TV, or those requiring hard work may evoke feelings of pleasure. In normal people, these normal activities aren’t associated with a dopamine boost (or pleasure). In someone with heightened dopamine, everything may seem pleasurable.
  • Hedonism: Many people notice a sense of hedonism or pleasure-seeking behavior when dopamine levels become excessive. Hedonistic behaviors can be exhibited by those with low dopamine (as a way to elevate it) as well as those with high dopamine (due to the feeling of intense pleasure).
  • High energy: Those with high levels of dopamine may experience heightened levels of energy. As an example think of someone who just took cocaine or a person experiencing bipolar mania – both will exhibit high levels of energy. A contributing factor to the increase in energy is the increase in dopamine.
  • High libido: It is known that raising dopamine levels is associated with a heightened sex drive and increased sexual pleasure. This is why many people use stimulants and drugs like MDMA (which have stimulant properties) to increase pleasure during sexual intercourse. Even medications that produce minimal dopaminergic increases (e.g. Wellbutrin) can result in hypersexuality and offset a decreased sex drive associated with high serotonin.
  • Hyperactivity: Some people become hyperactive (not to be confused with inattentive) when they have high levels of dopamine. The hyperactivity may be a byproduct of constant pleasure-seeking behavior associated with dopamine elevations. High dopamine for some people makes it difficult to sit still (counterintuitive to most ADHD diagnoses).
  • Insomnia: Excess dopamine may make it difficult to fall asleep, thus resulting in insomnia. Low levels of dopamine are associated with lethargy and chronic fatigue. Drugs that increase dopamine levels in the brain are associated with sleeping problems and insomnia.
  • Learning: High dopamine in certain areas of the brain may enhance our ability to learn new things. Those with deficient dopamine have a difficult time sustaining motivation to put forth sustained effort to learn something new. Those with low dopamine may experience learning deficits because they remain unmotivated.
  • Mania: Those experiencing mania or hypomania may be partially fueled by elevations in dopamine. Mania is characterized by decreased need for sleep, feelings of happiness, talkativeness, social behavior, impulse behavior (e.g. shopping sprees), etc. Hypomania is considered a slightly milder version of mania. Both conditions may worsen or become triggered with increases in dopamine.
  • Motivation: Those that are peak performers, overachievers, and “go getters” tend to have high levels of dopamine. This dopamine is what fuels their energy, performance, and helps them focus on the pleasure that they’ll get from the endgame or outcome. In other words, if a person with high dopamine knows they can get a monetary prize by completing a certain amount of work, they’ll be highly motivated to finish the work.
  • Organization of thoughts: Higher levels of dopamine may be involved in cognitive organization or allowing us to organize our thoughts. Those that have a difficult time organizing thoughts or staying productive are thought to have lower levels of dopamine. If you have an easy time organizing your thoughts and verbalizing these thoughts, you may have elevated dopamine.
  • Paranoia: Those experiencing paranoia tend to have heightened levels of extracellular dopamine in the brain. Those with conditions like paranoid schizophrenia and paranoid personality disorder tend to also have problems with the number of dopaminergic receptors. The paranoia can often be mitigated with drugs that decrease dopamine. Even those without psychiatric conditions can experience paranoia as a byproduct of using certain drugs for the dopamine boost.
  • Productivity: Those that are highly motivated tend to implement systems that increase their productivity. Since there is a dopaminergic reward associated with getting more work done (e.g. money, fame, success), those with high dopamine may be more productive than average. Those that are lazy, unmotivated, and underproductive may need to elevate their dopamine levels.
  • Reward seeking: You’ll be more likely to seek out rewards such as sex, money, food, and possibly drugs. While temporary increases in dopamine are a byproduct of rewarding stimuli, chronic dopamine elevations may also make you more likely to seek these rewards for a greater sense of pleasure. Therefore reward-seeking behavior may increase; this is the opposite of reward deficiency syndrome (RDS).
  • Self-control: Dopamine is associated with improvements in cognition and an ability to organize our thoughts and behavior. Those with low levels of dopamine tend to have a difficult time resisting rewards, whereas high levels of dopamine may produce a greater sense of self-control. Inability to resist immediate gratification is characterized by a short-term dopamine boost, but long-term depletion. Resisting rewards is thought to help increase levels of extracellular dopamine.
  • Social seeking: Many individuals with high levels of dopamine engage in pro-social behavior. Novel social situations tend to release more dopamine in the brain. Those that take psychostimulants such as Adderall for the social effect know first-hand that dopamine elevations make socializing easier.
  • Stress: Those who experience high levels of stress such as those associated with a nervous breakdown may experience boosted dopamine production. This dopamine is produced by the sympathetic nervous system that senses “danger.” Dopamine also initiates the production of adrenaline, leading you to feel extremely alert and less relaxed. Excess stress however is associated with depletion of dopamine or a “burn out.”

Note: The irony is that low levels of dopamine can also produce some of the same symptoms like anxiety, but the subtype will differ of the particular symptom.  An anxiety stemming from dopamine deficiency will likely not intrinsically “feel” the same as one from an overproduction of dopamine despite the fact that both make a person feel “anxious.”

High Dopamine Levels: Adverse Reactions

Sometimes high levels of dopamine exposure in certain areas of the brain can produce adverse physiological and psychological reactions. A majority of these adverse reactions are a result of individuals taking medications and/or illicit drugs as well as improper dopaminergic processing.

  • Aggression: Certain individuals respond to dopamine elevations by becoming increasingly aggressive towards others. This may be observed by an increase in “antisocial” (not to be confused with asocial) behaviors. They may lash out at others, destroy property, or be unable to channel their aggression in a productive manner.
  • Bizarre posturing: High levels of dopamine in the motor circuitry of the brain can produce a variety of odd symptoms including bizarre posturing. Someone with elevated dopamine may have a difficult time sitting still or may position their body in a seemingly uncomfortable or socially abnormal position.
  • Burning tongue: Another less common sensation that some individuals experience that has been associated with high dopamine is a “burning tongue.” This is generally a sign of dysfunctional dopamine processing in the brain.
  • Depression: Certain types of depression may actually be characterized by high levels of dopamine. A person who is depressed with high dopamine may still retain high levels of energy, a sex drive, and may lash out at others with aggressive behaviors.
  • Delusions: At an extreme, excess dopamine is associated with delusions among those with schizophrenia and even those without any mental illness. With too much dopamine, a person may become mistrusting of others and come to experience false beliefs or perceptions that have no logical basis in reality. Delusions of “grandeur” may be provoked with extremely high levels of dopamine.
  • Digestive tract problems: High dopamine in the brain stem has been associated with problems in the digestive tract. Problems in the digestive tract as a result of dopamine tend to be the causes of nausea and vomiting.
  • Hallucinations: Those that have experienced a psychotic episode as a result of schizophrenia or drug abuse may have experienced dopamine-induced hallucinations. When dopamine rises to a level that the brain cannot process, a person may experience hallucinations. The hallucinations may be auditory (e.g. hearing voices), visual (e.g. seeing things), or a combination of both.
  • Hiccups: Some people could experience increased occurrences of hiccups as a result of high dopamine. It has been theorized that the hiccups tend to be a result of heightened dopamine in the brain stem.
  • Muscle twitching: When the motor circuitry of the brain is affected by high dopamine, a person may experience involuntary movements, tremors, shakes, and muscle twitching.
  • Nausea: Some people experience a nausea that is directly caused by increased levels of dopamine. Generally it is not problematic and subsides as soon as the dopamine level is decreased.
  • Salivation: Another symptom that people can experience from high dopamine is that of excess salivation. Among those with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s it has been observed that dopamine increases can trigger salivation.
  • Suspicious thinking: This is associated with delusions and excessive paranoia that may result from high dopamine. Those that are suspicious of others’ motives and believe that people may be out to get them may have high dopamine as well as a dysfunction in their ability to process it. As a result, someone may end up on an antipsychotic to cope with the delusions.
  • Vomiting: When taken to an extreme, high levels of dopamine may result in a person vomiting. At a certain point, too much dopamine may actually make a person feel physically sick when it cannot be properly processed.

How To Reduce Dopamine Levels

Those that have excess dopamine and believe that high dopamine may be problematic, there are some options to consider. In an individual without mental illness, a common way to decrease the effect of dopamine is by eliminating stimulants and increasing serotonin production. Among people with a mental illness, generally the most accepted way to decrease the potentially harmful effects of high dopamine is to take an antipsychotic.

Antipsychotics: These are a class of psychiatric drugs that are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and psychosis. They are sometimes used for the treatment of bipolar disorder and certain types of major depression. These are highly potent drugs at decreasing dopamine, but come with a number of risks and side effects. Therefore they should only be taken by those with psychiatric conditions warranting their usage.

Dietary intake: Eating a diet rich in foods that increase serotonin (e.g. carbohydrates) may help offset the effects of high dopamine. You may want to avoid caffeinated beverages (e.g. coffee or tea) and foods that are rich in L-Tyrosine (a dopmaine precursor) such as: dark chocolate, duck, oatmeal, cheese, and chicken.

Supplements: Some have theorized that taking supplements that increase serotonin will naturally offset the effects of high dopamine. Below is a list of some supplements that tend to

  • 5-HTP
  • L-Tryptophan
  • Melatonin
  • St. John’s Wort

Conditions associated with High Dopamine

There are several conditions associated with abnormally high levels of dopamine. Keep in mind that certain conditions may fluctuate between high and low dopamine (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.).

  • Bipolar disorder: It is believed that hyperactive dopamine receptors may trigger a transition from the depressive phase of bipolar disorder to a manic (or hypomanic) phase. Dopaminergic activity is thought to increase during a state of mania. This is why many individuals with bipolar disorder often find antipsychotic medications (which lower dopamine) to be helpful for controlling manic phases.
  • Drug “high”: While a person is “high” on drugs like cocaine, pscyhostimulants, and other drugs, dopamine levels are elevated. Although the dopamine levels become elevated while the person is high, they may decrease to a level below baseline such as with amphetamines. This leads a person to build up a tolerance to the drug and over time, their dopamine levels become depleted. It takes a substantial period of time for the person to remain drug-free for dopamine levels to increase back to baseline.
  • Psychosis: Many people experience psychosis as the result of a mental illness or drug abuse. It is characterized by a loss of contact with reality. Certain symptoms of psychosis are likely enhanced by abnormally high levels of dopamine and dopaminergic function. Like schizophrenia, those with psychosis are generally treated with antipsychotics (which lower dopamine).
  • Schizophrenia: Certain subtypes of schizophrenia are heavily influenced by overproduction of dopamine. When a person experiences the positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions, there tends to be excess dopamine and dysfunction in the mechanisms by which it is processed. This is why individuals with schizophrenia are administered antipsychotic agents that deliberately reduce dopamine.

Have you ever experienced high dopamine?

If you’ve experienced an elevated level of dopamine, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. Discuss why you believe that what you experienced was a direct result of high dopamine and not something else. If you utilized a certain drug that is associated with heightened levels of dopamine, share what you were using. While a substantial level of dopamine can clearly yield benefits in terms of motivation, pleasure, and reward, too much dopamine creates dysfunctional symptoms.

Related Posts:

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Hakrux June 15, 2015, 5:21 pm

    I just came to this article per google and it enlightened me a bit. I think I have a lot of experience dealing with dopamine highs and lows in many different ways and would like to share a little bit of that with you. First of all, I do have symptoms of bipolarity a lot, and I’m in a phase of getting closer to the center of my condition step by step, a process which has been going on since years.

    Second, I explore myself a lot and like to believe that I have control over the status of my mind and also my neurochemistry to some extent. Everybody can control their dopamine levels by just rewarding themselves mentally, it’s only a thing of practice and can become the most effective tool, much more than diet or supplements, to have direct effects on your state of mind.

    To sum up all my times of elevated dopamine in detail would by far double the length of my comment now, so I’ll just bring them out categorized:

    1) Falling in love – Everybody knows it. I always had my heart broken wenn I fell in love, mostly in a matter of days or weeks. Looking back I was very dopamine seeking, and had much too high levels too, being anxious enough to be shaking and having the feeling of my stomach dissolving of the overacidic production. I got far too much out of my own modus operandi to be any fun anyway.

    2) Stressing yourself out extremely over something – I used to be a very nervous person and in that I had the ability to stress myself over whatever reason. I trained it sitting in the bus when I was late and contemplating over if I should stress myself or tell me that I couldn’t do anything anyway, sitting there. Furthering this into practice gave me good energy for running behind this one metro.

    3) Drugs – If you know that effect that “the first time with alcohol” or marijuana, or any other drug, for that matter, was the best, I can tell you, there’s a lot of dopamine playing in there. The sole experience of a completely new drug will give you a dopamine high, which will inevitably make it difficult to get a really objective look on a drug at the first use. Furthermore, depending on the setting, this dopamine high is what makes you either hedonistic and incredibly happy or anxious and paranoid.

    All in all, I find dopamine to be a great, though not harmless, and harshly overlooked tool in life. Like fire. Psychic fire. Thanks for making this great article! Have a good time. -Hakrux

  • G June 16, 2015, 1:27 am

    My new partner has Parkinson’s. He takes oral, skin patches and injects to increase dopamine. I started to feel different I hallucinated, my skin itched and I felt tired. I wondered if I may be picking up some of his agonist (dopamine producing drugs) via saliva, bodily fluids and even his sweat?

  • HD August 2, 2015, 9:17 pm

    I went to orgasm a ridiculous number of times the other day. After a serious conversation with someone, breakfast and a 3 hour nap, I needed to drive. I was up all night so I normally wouldn’t have had the energy or concentration to drive without caffeine/energy drinks, but strangely I didn’t any. I felt ‘high’ and the orgasms was the only usually thing (for me). I think mainly dopamine increased my energy (after napping), concentration, motivation, and contracted my irises

  • Angela Statzer September 3, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I was recently diagnosed with an auto immune system disorder called POTS or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. My doctor ordered adrenal function tests and my Dopamine and Norepinephrine levels were both very high. I was told it is because my condition causes the sympathetic nerve system to create the “fight or flight” feeling but I don’t experience any “high” that others have said they have.

    I’m the opposite, I feel depressed, no energy and no motivation but at the same time very anxious and stressed. Has anyone else experienced this? And if so, what can you do about it to get the levels back to normal? I can’t seem to get any answers. It took me almost a year and going to the Mayo Clinic just to get the POTS diagnosis. I have lost my job due to this medical condition and am now on long term disability. I’ve been told to drink more fluids, increase salt intake and exercise daily to recondition my body but no one has addressed this issue. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Anon wife October 27, 2015, 3:22 pm

      I have a friend who was diagnosed with the very same condition 6 years ago. A tilt table test amongst other things confirmed it. Do you have a cardiologist? If not, get one asap as they should be able to help you. They are using a steroid (to help with water retention), lots of fluids, plenty of salt in the diet, and something new called Nuvigil. Lie down flat when you feel bad, reduce stress wherever possible, and make sure you get your thyroid levels checked too. An SSRI may also help. Its a crazy health condition but just keep after your doc for help. My friend is finally feeling better. Best of luck to you!

    • Dianthus February 8, 2016, 8:08 am

      Was the person who diagnosed you an orthodox medical practitioner or a holistic doctor? I am asking because what you describe sounds more like low blood pressure (hypotension). If you have that you will have no energy – absolutely none at all. You will want to stay in bed and cry all day long. Also, it seems very odd that they say you have high dopamine etc.

      What you are describing does not seem like a case of inflated dopamine levels rather the opposite. High dopamine is the feeling you get when you go sky diving, have no inhibitions about leading dance moves at the party (with no alcohol) or get excited to the point of euphoria by something. Check out low blood pressure symptoms. What you describe could also be something else.

      What about hypothyroidism and hypoglycemic tendencies? All of these can make you anxious and depressed. I have all three hypos so I know. Maybe you want to consider a second opinion from a better doctor too. Doctors often seem to be overloaded with patients and pretty clueless these days. Low blood pressure and the other ‘hypo’s’ can mean crippling depression and or anxiety symptoms.

      To increase blood pressure, of course you have to drink a lot, increase mineral intake and exercise to make your blood pump to your brain or else you function like a hose turned on full but only trickling during a drought. Low blood pressure can make you anxious and very very shaky at times. If it is really bad it can make you vomit, have migraines, get car sickness and you can even faint.

      Anesthetic and sedatives can cause low blood pressure. If you have been in hospital where you had to have a general anesthetic, and you vomited/passed out not long after waking up, this is because of low blood pressure. It happened to me and the nurse told me I had low blood pressure while I threw up in the bucket. Cure? Lots of fluids.

      They put a drip into you for low blood pressure in the hospital. At home, if you have low blood pressure you might feel like killing yourself because there is NO dopamine really shooting off in your brain to make you feel motivated to live. If there is no blood pumping to make your brain function, you will feel like dying and want to speed the death process up asap. Your brain is saying: “kill yourself” because basically you are dying for fluids. You have to drink a litre of fluid if you feel like that and the black thoughts will probably fade quickly if it is low blood pressure.

      Give that a try and see if you feel better. Some people have to take medication for low blood pressure if it is very bad. By doing that you also stimulate dopamine into action which will make you feel better. You say there is too much dopamine though? I wonder if they got the diagnosis right or mixed it up with another patient? That can happen too.

      If you are having a very bad time with depression, the following recipe may work for you. It is not a joke. I found out by accident on one occasion when I could not stop crying from depression. I had been crying for two hours and I wanted to end my life it was so terrible. There was no particular trigger either at that time except I was unemployed and terribly bored and frustrated with nothing to get out of bed in the morning to do.

      For some reason amidst that black depression, my brain was screaming for something sweet so I went with the flow. I ate chocolate biscuits. For some reason, I recalled too, an incident where my dad had fallen over cliff into a lake on a hiking trip three years back due to a low blood pressure (he survived). He and I share the same genes there.

      Neither of us feel thirst like others do. We both have low blood pressure and we do not feel thirsty either. We both get anxiety, need to do high octane activity for sanity and we both like chocolate in large amounts in one off situations. We are both as slim as antelopes too. We both do mountains easily in our spare time. Well, for some reason this event about my dad flicked into my mind while eating chocolate.

      I decided to drink a litre of fluid on thinking about that. Wow. I could not believe the effect all that fluid had. It was a complete shift of something in my mind. It was weird. One moment there had been suicidal ideation and within half an hour all that disappeared – with a litre of juice and water. I remembered too, that brains always need vitamin B complex especially because women are more needy here.

      I had not been having the supplements for awhile so I thought I should take a tablet since the bottle was sitting in the fridge dormant and full of B vitamins. If your doctor says you have to drink a lot of water, increase your salt intake and exercise, chances are you have low blood pressure. Also it is highly likely you might be one who is prone to hypoglycemia as well. Things tie together in the brain chemistry.

      In my experience, eating a small bit of sweet carbohydrate can cure black depression within half an hour. I get black depressive symptoms just before my menstrual period as well. Life is not fair. My personal cure for it is half a litre of juice and water, one high dose multivitamin B complex tablet ( I am talking about 50 mg plus amounts of separate B vitamins per tablet; 2mg of vitamin B5 is not going to help you but 68mg will), and two pieces of whole grain toast with a lot of jam, or 6 chocolate biscuits in one go.

      For some reason this recipe works within half an hour for me. I then drink another half litre of fluid when the depressive thoughts start to fade. The depression disappears very quickly. I have been doing this each time I feel the black moods coming on. It works for me. I recommend it to others. I read that to stimulate serotonin activity in the brain carbohydrate is very necessary to get it started.

      I would say my my dopamine and serotonin levels were improved by eating these kinds of carbohydrates at this time. It would make sense. I hope you will find relief from the anxiety. If you have low blood pressure, it is very common to be a person who gets nervous and anxious. Do not allow people to label you either. It is not like people have any right to criticize you for having anxiety; however, do try boosting your fluids, vitamin B intake and taking up Bollywood dance or whatever exercise helps you feel better.

      I recommend you try this idea and see if your anxiety/depression goes away and if so, how long it takes for it to subside. If you relief by doing this, follow with some aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes and see what happens.

      • Dawn May 20, 2016, 12:44 pm

        Oh my goodness! DO NOT GIVE OTHERS MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU ARE NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. It is completely unsafe! People may have heart conditions where extra fluids can be very dangerous, or diabetes where sugar is dangerous. You have no idea of another’s medical history and can cause harm to others if they follow your directions.

        Believe me, the Mayo Clinic knows what they are doing and are one of the only centers in the US that can test for POTS and the Autonomic Nervous System. POTS is related to temporary or lengthened low blood pressure, that is why people experience tachycardia. Read about it. I know you meant well, but don’t do it…

    • LL April 8, 2016, 5:41 pm

      My daughter had POTS. A doctor at Johns Hopkins, whose name escapes me, spoke with her doctor and recommended a gluten- free, oat free,corn free, beef and dairy free diet. It helped with in about 12 months and by year 2 & 1/2, all her symptoms were resolved. She got bold and went off the diet. She was overly happy for a few months and then the POTS came back. The diet worked again. Now that diet is known essentially as paleo with no beef or dairy. Hope this info helps.

    • Wayne June 6, 2016, 2:15 am

      Hi,I have been doing a lot of research. High levels dopamine and norepinephrine can be related to high levels of copper or lead. Get hair analysis and urine tests. Some may say a bad liver can cause high copper levels.

    • Angela August 16, 2016, 4:05 pm

      I have experienced the same thing. I had hyper-POTS, where you have high catecholamines and BP that spikes uncontrollably but all the other symptoms of hypotension. I went to Mayo as well. It turns out that the best thing I did was to INCREASE my sodium intake, and it LOWERED my blood pressure. The cardiologist at Mayo said he had never seen anything like that in nearly 40 years of practice.

      In short, the hyper-POTS was my body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis from low blood volume. I am all better now. No symptoms at all. I finally discovered the cause of my symptoms was a series of nasty mutations, including MTHFR C677T, PEMT, and PON1. When I started to treat these mutations, my symptoms began to resolve.

      I also have homozygous MAOA and hetero COMT, as well as several mutations that cause extremely low serotonin, and my dopamine/norepi have always been through the roof. When I was very ill, the doctors thought I had a catecholamine-secreting tumor–that’s how insane the symptoms were. Trying to bypass the mutations with diet and supplements has helped my dopamine levels quite a bit, as well, and I hope they will continue to improve.

  • NeuroImbalanced October 17, 2015, 5:34 pm

    I think taking Wellbutrin with Adderall caused adverse reactions of too much dopamine in me. On day 3 of starting the WB I felt like I had the flu with every muscle in my skinny little body aching as if I had a fever. Muscles were twitching and having tiny spasms in places everywhere on my body. It was frightening and took about 35 hours to subside after stopping the WB.

    I had also taken some 5-htp so I was concerned it might be serotonin issues before concluding it was a dopamine issue. I realize none of them work alone and everything is interconnected creating all sorts of interactions in my mind and body. Still seeking some balance while also alleviating my depression and suicidal thoughts.

  • Hyp November 8, 2015, 9:48 pm

    I am facing problems with hypomania. Doc told me to not smoke or drink alcohol. But I am not able to control myself. I smoke once in a day and drink once in a month. Can anyone tell how this affects my increased dopamine levels?

  • Wakka December 10, 2015, 10:09 am

    Thank you for the insight into dopamine. I had been searching around for a while as to its grander effects on the body. Thank you for sharing this. I was wondering for a bit why I was experiencing so much muscle twitching/spasms. Some times I had outright vicious muscle cramps. Now the worst times were due to an incredibly poor diet. Once I changed that, the cramps ceased, but still experienced spasms.

    Now that I’ve started supplementing vitamins, and abstained from (sometimes excessive) masturbation, things have actually become much better. I’m still scaling myself off alcohol, since I know it is a big problem as well, but I’m taking it one step at a time. I have a strong tendency to just rush towards a goal with reckless abandon, and considering the current state of my health, that could end up being suicidal.

    Thanks again for this post, it’s been very helpful.

  • Teresa December 29, 2015, 10:03 pm

    I have schizophrenia and psychosis. I find this article 100% true. I have experienced all of the above. My dopamine raises and I’ve gotten in a lot I trouble because of the things I’ve done while having hallucinations. I’ve been taken to a psychiatric hospital four times. I take Latuda at 120 my psychiatrist raised it from 80 yesterday because I heard a voice yesterday morning and I reached out to my clinic.

    I feel really good today. You can have a normal life and live with mental illnesses if you take your medication as prescribed. It took four hospitalizations for me to learn that but I’ve decided to comply with my doctor and seek treatment. I could have been one of those people that does a mass massacre.

    I believed most of the people were devil worshipers and I believed my eyes and hands were swords so I would slash people with my eyes or hands as they were walking by. Having a high level of dopamine can be really dangerous. Schizophrenia is a dangerous illness if not treated. I’m opting to treat mine.

  • Bart January 7, 2016, 6:48 pm

    Unfortunately, I have experienced many of these negative symptoms when eating chocolate. Certain forms of chocolate are known to increase dopamine levels – especially when you binge on it. I have found that I am especially vulnerable to cocoa processed with alkali (you can see this on the package labeling). It seems to intensify these effects. In particular, agitation, anxiety, irritability, and suspicious thinking.

  • John March 21, 2016, 8:40 pm

    I want to know if masturbation can cause hallucinations… if so how does it happen? And how can it be stopped apart from abstaining from masturbation?

    • Ashley Zeleznik September 6, 2016, 7:01 am

      Masturbation does not cause hallucinations, my friend.

  • Romy July 1, 2016, 2:46 pm

    I have Tourette syndrome and I am on anti-psychotics, the anti-psychotics have made my tics, sensory issues and rage attacks nearly non-existent. As you said high levels of dopamine can cause involuntary muscle movements and agitation, therefore I believe that high levels of dopamine can be a cause for my TS. I have also got history of paranoid schizophrenia and anxiety in my family so it could be a genetic cause for high dopamine.

  • Craig Crawford October 4, 2016, 3:45 pm

    “Some have theorized that taking supplements that increase serotonin will naturally offset the effects of high dopamine.” Well, some would theorise wrong. Because increased serotonin reduces dopamine acutely, but increases it chronically… increased serotonin activity disinhibits dopamine. Also, St John’s Wort has MAOI effects, so is likely to also increase dopamine.

Leave a Comment