Dopamine deficiency symptoms

Updated February 21, 2017

The body has a strategic balance that it must maintain in order to operate properly. When there is too little or too much of something, things begin to happen making the person aware that something is not right. Dopamine is an example of that balance. If the body does not have the correct amount there will be negative repercussions.


The job of a neurotransmitter is to transport messages from one brain cell to the other. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that is specifically tied to the controlling of movement and emotions. Therefore, when the balance of dopamine is off, there are mental and physical effects that can be life altering. When too much dopamine is in the body the result can be schizophrenia. Too little dopamine also has extremely negative effects.


Parkinson's disease, vitamin deficiencies, problems with other body systems, and thyroid problems are just some of the reasons that someone might develop low dopamine. Environmental causes such as lack of sleep and stress can also cause a dopamine deficiency. Exposure to lead, arsenic and cadmium are other potential reasons. Some of these have simple solutions such as changing day-to-day activities while others require more complex solutions such as daily medications.


Dopamine deficiency can result in simple to complex symptoms. People often appear depressed. Signs of depression are lack of interest in their lives, no motivation, procrastination and the inability to feel pleasure. They sleep a lot and have difficulty getting up in the morning. Other symptoms of low dopamine are being more likely to form addictions, a need for caffeine or other stimulants, and gaining weight.

Parkinson's Disease

An extreme deficiency of dopamine can be caused by Parkinson's disease. This is a neurologic problem that greatly affects motor skills and other activities of a person. The main symptoms are a tremor or shaking while resting, slow movement, rigid muscles and a loss of balance. Examples of secondary symptoms are a posture that appears to lean forward, trouble swallowing, tiredness, problems with fine motor skills and a lack of ability to form normal facial expressions. There are also symptoms not specifically related to movement such as dementia, problems sleeping and pain.


It is important to understand that it might be hard for a person dealing with these symptoms to recognize them in themselves. Issues of depression, fatigue and stress can easily be attributed to other things. Therefore, it is imperative to seek medical care in order to find out what is truly going on so that it can be treated to the best extent possible.

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About the Author

Lisa Pulsifer has found written communication to be necessary in school and her teaching career. While Pulsifer's online writing experience consists of several message boards on topics that range from pregnancy, parenting, to living frugally, writing was required as she earned her M.Ed. in severe disabilities and B.S. in psychology.