Fast dopamine and addiction

The faster, the more addictive: food, drugs, and love. The faster and higher the dopamine spikes, the higher the risk of addiction and the greater the euphoria. Conversely, the slower and longer the reward, the less significant it seems (temporal discounting). 


Research reveals that the faster a drug reaches the brain, the more likely it is to be addictive. For example, the reported maximum euphoria is highest for smoked cocaine (time to peak effects: 1.4 min), followed by intravenous (3.1 min) and then intranasal (14.6 min) routes of administration. The fastest methods are smoking, followed by injection, inhalation, and then ingestion.
It turns out that the speed factor activates the brain's "salience network" and causes desensitization to the substance (=risk of addiction). A corticostriatal circuit comprising the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and insula and their connections with the dorsal caudate, which is activated by fast dopamine increases and parallels feelings of 'high.'
The same applies to food – the faster the rise in glucose after carbohydrate intake, the more one craves. The higher the glucose level in the blood, the higher the dopamine level in the brain, leading people to yearn for more high-glycemic foods. Finer grind, better purification, more added sugar and salt, and faster dissolution in the mouth enhance the effect. Fast food embodies this concept: purees instead of solid pieces, smoothies instead of whole fruits, meatballs instead of steaks, pieces that don't require chewing, and quick delivery without waiting.
The same principle applies to falling in love quickly. Traits like emophilia (tendency to fall in love easily, quickly, and repetitively), characterized by an attraction to rapid, surface-level charisma, are a threat. Those who are prone to quick fall in love are often attracted to individuals with dark tetrad traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, sociopathy, sadism).
Four ideas on how to apply this in life:
1. Slow pleasure: 
Opt for the slowest form of any pleasure. Whole foods, steak instead of a patty, an apple instead of apple juice. Prolonged foreplay. Ask yourself, how can this be done even slower? An eclair eaten leisurely with friends in a cafe and stuffed into oneself in a second at night in the refrigerator are completely different eclairs and a completely different risk of problems with compulsive overeating.
2. Quickly tackle unpleasant and challenging tasks. It reduces their unpleasantness and increases their positive evaluation.
3. Balance dopamine "wanting" with serotonin "liking." 
Savor consciously and stay aware, here and now– it reduces the risk of addiction. As long as you enjoy the process, the risk of dependence is lower.
4. Slow drugs can cure addiction, e.g., a nicotine patch. 
Delivering a drug slowly produces a weaker, longer-lasting effect, stabilizing the brain and reducing withdrawal symptoms. Slow, mindful eating can alleviate food addiction. A slow, long-lasting romance can treat sexual dependence.
5. Think slowly. 
The prefrontal cortex needs time for thorough information processing. Avoid those who demand quick responses or instant gratification. When rushed, slow down – more pleasure, better decisions, fewer addictions. 
Neural circuit selective for fast but not slow dopamine increases in drug reward Nature Communications volume 14, Article number: 6408 (2023)
Why does the rapid delivery of drugs to the brain promote addiction? Trends Pharmacol Sci 2005 Feb;26(2):82-7.
Rapid Delivery of Nicotine Promotes Behavioral Sensitization and Alters Its Neurobiological Impact BIOL PSYCHIATRY 2005;57:351–360
The Speed of Cocaine Delivery Determines the Subsequent Motivation to Self-Administer the Drug Neuropsychopharmacology volume 38, pages 2644–2656 (2013)
Emophilia and other predictors of attraction to individuals with Dark Triad traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 168.