A new NIDA study has revealed the significance of dopamine for addicts by studying schizophrenics who also are addicted to drugs. According to the study, addicts who are also schizophrenics have a decreased amount of dopamine released in the striatal region of the brain.
The results of the research show that dopamine release was reduced in the striatum of patients with addiction and schizophrenia. There was an increase in dopamine sensitivity in the part of the brain responsible for schizophrenics’ psychotic symptoms. Additionally, a reduced sensitivity to dopamine occurred in the region of the striatum responsible for reward.
These results, according to the researchers, could be responsible for the common cycle of using drugs to self medicate and triggering further psychosis as a result.
The NIDA believes that if they can understand the brain changes better for patients with schizophrenia and drug addiction, they can better help people who have co-existing addiction and mental disorders.