Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA)
The ventral tegmentum (or ventral tegmental area) is a small area in the basal midbrain which is a critical part of the brain's reward system. It sends projections to the nucleus accumbens that use the neurotransmitter dopamine. Addictive drugs universally increase the effects of dopamine in this system, whereas drugs that oppose dopamine produce anhedonia of the sort seen in depressed people. Dopamine-enhancers such as cocaine often relieve the lack-of-pleasure in depression, but the effects only last as long as a drug is present in the body: that is, they temporarily alleviate one of the main symptoms, but do not help to cure the disease.
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