Whatever we’re addicted to, it sends us surging on a high into euphoria. Of course this thrill spike makes us feel good, which is why we get hooked. It’s that feeling we crave. But why do we crave it? Is it because we aren’t getting these spikes from our everyday lives without it? Is that the only we experience these types of highs? Or do we just prefer these types of highs because it doesn’t measure up to the everyday high?

This isn’t far from true. We could be genetically prewired not to be stimulated by everyday pleasures which lead us to seek the thrill outside ourselves. There’s a dopamine receptor known as D2 receptor. When the d2 receptor population isn’t normal, we see problems with areas like attention, motor control, motivation, and addiction.

D2 receptors are developed while we’re in still in the womb. However, the DRD2 gene which is responsible for growing these receptors has a variant (allele A1) that cause a reduction in the number of D2 receptors. Allele A1 gets passed down to offspring who usually end up struggling with addiction. This explains how addiction seems to run in families. Of course, our life experiences and our ability to cope still have an influence addictive behaviors and our life choices.

Those with fewer D2 receptors tend to be less excited about achieving goals in life or being able to find the thrill in everyday life. Their reward system doesn’t give them much of a buzz. These people fill that void with hyper-exciting rewards or highs from drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.. They feel unenthused with life and the addictions is a way to engage with life. So in other words, addiction is more of a side effect to having fewer D2 receptors.

If this resonates with you and you relate to it or know someone who might relate to it, please reach out to a medical professional. If you are in the southern california area, please contact a medical professional at Crownview Medical Group for advice on healthy approaches to finding the thrills in life.