I read an article this morning about dopamine and its effects on the brain with regard to internet porn addiction. The article talked about the negative attributes that a lack of dopamine imparts – low motivation, inability to focus, angry overreaction, depression, diminished libedo, decreased risk-taking and anxiety. An imbalance in neurochemistry can lead to addictive and destructive behaviors.
When our brain chemistry is balanced, our response to stress tends to be “normal,” but when our brain chemistry is unbalanced, our responses are exageratted and misdirected. Imbalance is created through a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Our genes can be a huge factor but the environment seems to be playing a bigger role than ever, given so many rapid technological changes in the last 20-30 years. Our brains just can’t keep up and the neurochemistry cannot support the body in crisis all of the time.
The way I see it, we can treat these problems a few different ways:
- Do nothing – status quo is maintained and the condition is likely worsened;
- Treat these conditions with medication – receptor function is altered and each neurotransmitter system is negatively affected;
- Change behavior – This can be very effective for problems brought on by behavior but can take a long time;
- Incorporate nutritional/supportive therapy – Often effective by itself in arresting decline and stabilizing the patient. Can help balance the brain in the short-term and assist in long-term success
- Combine nutritional/supportive therapy or drug therapy with behavioral changes – Behavioral changes combined with either drug therapy or nutritional therapy will result in a greater degree of improvement in the short-term but in the long-term, many patients are better off without the drug therapy.
The severity of the imbalance and the cause will determine treatment. I have seen brain chemistry issues resolve completely with nutritional support alone in some cases and in others combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. In short, the article I read simply reinforced my belief in the slogan we use for Equilibrate: Balance your brain. Balance your life.