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Drugs & Health Blog

Your Really, Totally, Incredibly Awesome Brain

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
The NIDA Blog Team

The human brain is the command center for your entire body. It makes you who you are. It receives information from your senses, and controls your thoughts and movement.

The brain: a user's manual

Want to start exploring your incredibly complex command center? This 5-minute video describes the locations of many parts of the brain and what they control, including:

  • Cerebrum
  • Hemispheres of the brain
  • Cortex: frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe
  • Thalamus
  • Cranial nerves
  • Cerebellum
  • Brainstem
  • Spinal cord
  • Pons
  • Medulla oblongata
  • Limbic system
  • Reward circuit
  • Amygdala
  • Hippocampus
  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary gland
  • Pineal gland


Reward and risk

You may have noted something called the “reward circuit” on the list. The reward circuit releases the chemical dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure. The anticipation of pleasure motivates us to repeat important human behaviors like eating, having fun with friends, or falling in love. But it also encourages us to repeat risky behaviors, like taking drugs.

Drugs signal the brain to release unusually large amounts of dopamine. This dopamine flood causes the “high” that drug users seek. If they repeat the behavior too many times, though, the brain learns to expect the high. That makes it hard to enjoy more normal, simple pleasures—a process that, over time, can lead to addiction.

Maintain your brain 

These are just a few of the parts and functions of the beautiful, amazing, complex human brain. We need to exercise it, protect it, and understand how important it is to every thought and action in our daily lives.

If after viewing the video, you want to learn more about how the brain is affected by addiction, check out the Brain and Addiction page.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


i enjoyed it . all the best nida
The brain is very powerful and very interesting to learn about. I really liked learning about how dopamine works!
The brain is complex organ and discussions are typically overwhelming to teens. They find the topic long and boring. However, this video with animation features makes the learning much easier. In a few minutes critical issues are explored that are very important in helping teens understand the role of chemical addiction in changing the way the brain works. This is an excellent resource for Addiction Treatment Professionals as well as school teachers.
So cool how dopamine is released in so many aspects of our life! Would love to know more on the topic.
The average IQ is 127 that should eb higher, but drugs cause that to fall.
crazy how the brain works

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