Reward Deficiency Syndrome or RDS is a brain disorder characterized by dopamine deficiency in the brain’s reward center. RDS can be genetic or acquired from prolonged stress and a toxic effect of long-term substance misuse.
Understanding RDS helps us better treat substance use, depression, anxiety, stress, attention, focus, overeating, obesity and gaming.
Why is dopamine so essential?
Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical found in the body. It controls emotional responses and mediates how we experience stress, pleasure, reward, joy, and contentment. Mood, sleep, concentration, motor skills, and memory are all affected by dopamine.
Recent research shows:
At least 30 percent of the U.S. population has a genetically-acquired “dopamine deficiency” and are at an increased “risk” for developing an addictive disease or other debilitating brain disorders.
The most common conditions linked to dopamine deficiency include depression, anxiety disorder, ADHD, stress, sexual compulsions, pathological gambling, hedonic overeating, obesity and more.
How do you know if you have RDS?
RDS can be detected through genetic testing for dopamine deficiency.
If you are exposed to a substance or engaged in a behavior that elevates your dopamine level (particularly during a time of stress or sadness), you may feel a lot better; at least for a little while. A telltale sign of RDS is whether this relief is only temporary and you are learning how to change your mood with substances or non-substance behaviors artificially.
Self-medication with substances or non-substance behaviors is a basic indicator of addictive disease.
What goes up must come down.
Unlike natural rewards, after a drug or alcohol-induced high, dopamine levels crash. So, the more someone uses a mood-altering substance or engages in an addictive behavior to feel better, the worse they actually feel – which is the neurobiological result.
Usually, sustained abstinence is necessary before the individual’s brain can replenish dopamine levels and function properly. In fact, for opioid users, it takes about three years to return to normal, but there are supplements and vitamins that can aid in this process.
A deficit in dopamine is no small thing. It creates “anhedonia,” or the inability to feel happy and contented and to appreciate natural rewards and beauty. Depending on stress, social support, and other environmental pressures, for many, abstinence alone may not be enough. Sadly, as a result, relapse is more common than not.
Simply stated: What do all the RDS disorders have in common?
The answer is Dopamine Deficits in critical areas of the brain.
Traditional treatments such as medication, psychotherapy, and social support remain the mainstay for most people. These are by design, symptom-reduction strategies; however, RDS has paved the way to new and novel treatment approaches. One such approach is precision neuro-nutrient pro-dopamine regulation therapy. The neuro-nutrients are matched to the individual’s gene-variations (restoreGen®).
Statistically significant reduction of symptoms
Many peer-reviewed clinical trials of this neuro-nutrient over the past two decades have produced a decrease in symptoms associated with RDS. There is emerging evidence that a permanent stabilization of dopamine reward can be attained. The genetic profile of the individual, which until now has been unattainable, is essential for understanding who will benefit from treatment with pro-dopamine regulation, and potentially achieve Dopamine Reward Stability. GARS® testing will provide the genetic basis for treatment.