Ventral Tegmental Area

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Last updated 6 years ago

Human Anatomy

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Ventral Tegmental Area

The VTA works to regulate and process the neurotransmitters dopamine, responsible for the feeling of desire, and serotonin, what makes us feel satisfied and content. Drugs such as opiates have been found to increase dopamine while lowering serotonin, leading to an unsatisfying “want” for more.

What does it do?

For adolescents, sensitivity to new experiences is heightened, leading them to become more attracted to the pursuit of even newer experiences. The brain rewards the new experiences and provides a positive stimulus. For drug addicts, this system can lead to the pursuit of more drugs with little to no consideration for the dangers they bring, only to satisfy their current fixations.

What choices does it lead to?

Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA)

The VTA is an essential component to the reward circuitry of the brain. It is what drives humans to seek out what makes them happy and satisfied.

What's so important?

Positive experiences or stimuli trigger the neurons within the VTA that work to synthesize dopamine. Dopamine is a modulating force for the prefrontal cortex, which regulates planning and motivation.

How/Why it reacts


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