What are Dopamine Receptors?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Climate change is causing Canada to heat up at twice the global average, with Northern Canada warming even faster.  more...

August 21 ,  1959 :  Hawaii became the 50th state to enter the Union.  more...

Dopamine receptors are one class or type of receptors that are found in the central nervous system as well as other key points near nerve endings in various organs. The receptors are instrumental in the proper function of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has a significant effect on the function of the nervous system in regard to memory, general mood, and cognition. When the supply of dopamine to the receptors is inhibited in some manner, an individual may be begin to experience difficulty concentrating, become easily irritated, and possibly become severely depressed.

Because dopamine receptors are so influential in the function of the brain and the emotions, the presence of some sort of dopamine receptor agonist can have a significant effect on an individual’s ability to function in social situations. Agonists combine with receptors to promote elevated function of those receptors. This means that someone who is currently dealing with unusual periods of irritation or depression may find that taking a dopamine agonist will alleviate those symptoms and restore a more balanced frame of mind.

In like manner, should the activity of the dopamine receptors change due to an excess amount of dopamine in the system, medication can be administered to regulate the levels back into a normal range. Once normal function is restored, the individual will find be able to enjoy favorite pastimes again, think clearly, and in general enjoy being with other people in social situations.


There are a number of factors that can impact the production of dopamine and the subsequent function of dopamine receptors. Nicotine and excessive amounts of alcohol can alter dopamine production. While the effects may not be as noticeable as long as the usage continues, many people find that using some sort of medication to trigger dopamine production will calm cravings and make it possible to go through the withdrawal period.

Stress can also impact the function of dopamine receptors by creating an imbalance of dopamine in the system. Using replacement therapy to help feed the dopamine receptors can quickly reverse the situation and help the individual cope until the origins of the stress are addressed and resolved. With this type of application, the use of the medication may be for a short period, or for several years.

People suffering with depression also often suffer with abnormal levels of dopamine that lead to a less efficient function of the dopamine receptors. Since depression can negatively affect several different types of neurotransmitters, it may take some time to determine that the problem does not involve serotonin levels, but is in fact a problem with proper dopamine levels and receptor activity. Often, people that do not respond well to SSRIs will find that using a medication to regulate dopamine production and usage will help restore some degree of emotional balance and allow the individual to work through any issues related to the depressed state.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 1

Trying to figure out if a person was on a drug called Reglan for 20 years if their dopamine receptors were destroyed,or damaged, or just went dormant?T he drug is used for quick stomach emptying, but causes a host of side effects during, and even more after cessation of said drug.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?