Monday, 23 April 2012

Getting High

What gets you high? What is it that fuels your adrenaline rush? Around the world, many individuals misuse medications and popular food products for the wrong reasons. They often “get high” to relax and unwind after work, to let go of the day's tensions and to adjust their mental attitude. Abusers usually feel a slight euphoria, happiness, or sense of well-being. Many mundane things suddenly seem more intriguing and alive. Problems become less severe and pressing. So what is it that makes these individuals “feel good?”

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in a variety of different behaviours. The major behaviours which dopamine affects are movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. It is the chemical that is produced when “thrill seekers” set out to fulfil their adrenaline rush. Evidence has shown that people with extroverted (reward-seeking) personality types tend to show higher levels of dopamine activity than people with introverted personalities. Dopamine is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus acumens and prefrontal cortex) by rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them.

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Celebratory period - file 

In certain areas of the brain when dopamine is released it gives off the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. These feelings of satisfaction often become desired, and the individual develops a desire for that satisfaction. This explains why many persons continually seek to fulfil that urge. The urge for drugs, immoral and spontaneous behaviours often results in an addiction. This addiction is due to the effect of dopamine and it can have a negative effect on the individual’s well-being. So is it then wrong to increase your dopamine levels?
While dopamine produces a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction, too little can cause slowed movement, apathy and lack of motivation while too much is associated with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The correct balance of dopamine gives the brain and nervous system plasticity, the ability to move, think effortlessly and to keep a healthy balance in emotions. Dopamine in the form of L-DOPA is given to patients with Parkinson’s disease. This drug serves to replace the missing dopamine in the brain. So while it can cause an addiction, it is widely beneficial to others for survival.

Here at Northern Caribbean University, many students get high for Jesus every day. Students can be seen on the campus in the prayer garden at noon conducting devotional sessions. Every Monday at 2:00 p.m, NCU’s assemblies are devoted to worship and inspirational thoughts. These sessions are sometimes conducted entirely by members of staff, departments, academic clubs, and students. Opportunities are given to allow students and staff to tell of God’s goodness in their lives.

Come and be apart of our family. Let us increase that feeling of satisfaction in a Godly atmosphere. What are you high on today?

Mikki Clarke