Drugs that elevate dopamine also tend to increase pleasure. Thus, addicts seeking escape from unpleasant states may find pleasure by self-administering drugs that elevate dopamine.

Dopamine receptors have been implicated in addiction. Dopamine receptors regulate the levels of dopamine in the synapses. When dopamine is released into a synapse it binds to receptors on the presynaptic Ibogaine treatment terminal membrane. Once bound to receptors the dopamine molecule is not released again. Dopamine receptor stimulation tends to produce the same feeling as the natural rise and fall of dopamine levels in the brain. Drugs that increase dopamine levels tend to produce the same feelings as normal dopamine release.

The mechanism of action of drugs of abuse has been extensively researched. Drugs of abuse, when taken, act to stimulate the dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the brain, thereby increasing the availability of dopamine to the frontal cortex. As dopamine binds to its receptors in the cortex, the prefrontal cortex mediates a wide range of cognitive processes, including decision-making, attention, working memory, and inhibition.

In summary, drugs of abuse increase extracellular dopamine in the brain’s reward system.