Dopamine (contracted from 3,4-dihydroxyphenethylamine) is a hormone (also known as Prolactin Inhibiting Hormone/Factor - PIH or PIF) and neurotransmitter of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families that plays a number of important roles in the human brain and body. Its name derives from its chemical structure: it is an amine that is formed by removing a carboxyl group from a molecule of L-DOPA. In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine systems, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Most types of reward increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity. Other brain dopamine systems are involved in motor control and in controlling the release of several other important hormones. A variety of important drugs work by altering the way the body makes or uses dopamine.
• 1: INTRODUCING STRESS
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