How does the brain register pleasure?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
The brain registers all forms of pleasure in the same way, whether from a psychoactive drug (any substance that changes your mood, thinking, or behavior), a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a universal signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine release in this part of the brain is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the pleasure center.

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