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What Happens in Your Brain When You Experience Pleasure?

pleasure effects on brain

Story at-a-glance -

  • Pleasure — the good feeling you get in response to drugs, food, sex and other stimulants — is driven by the release of various neurotransmitters throughout your brain, including dopamine, the so-called “pleasure chemical”
  • Certain food products, notably refined and processed “hyperpalatable” foods containing high amounts of sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, hijack your brain’s reward center, causing changes identical to those found in alcohol and drug abusers
  • Addiction also affects your frontal cortex, impairing your ability to control impatience, impulsivity, irritability and other mood states associated with addiction and withdrawal
  • Abuse, neglect and other trauma during your formative years can profoundly affect your frontal cortex and deliver epigenetic influences that make you more susceptible to addictions

By Dr. Mercola

Your brain is a powerful instrument that often seems to have "a mind of its own." This is certainly the case when it comes to how it handles pleasure, which has been shown to affect both the nucleus accumbens, or reward center, and frontal cortex regions of your brain.


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