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The Sciences

A drug called "Charlie Sheen"

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumMarch 5, 2011 12:31 AM


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Everyone seems to be speculating about Charlie Sheen. The media paints things any way they want, and as a blogger, admittedly, with this post I add to the hullabaloo. But I'd like to contribute something to the conversation. I've seen Dr. Drew describing Sheen's unusual behavior as possibly "drug induced," bipolar, and/or manic. Meanwhile, he has reportedly tested negative for drugs and Neil DeGrasse Tyson recently tweeted:


Now I don't know Charlie Sheen and cannot imagine what his lifestyle is really like. The media's portrayal is assuredly not the full story. That said, I suspect he may have more dopamine receptors dotting the tips of his nerve cells than the average man. Dopamine is a powerful chemical associated with craving, desire, and stimulation of pleasure-pathway nerves in the brain. As I explain in my book, research suggests that a high number may predispose us to sexual promiscuity or addictive behavior. Should this be the case, then Sheen would be--as he describes--literally on a drug called "Charlie Sheen."

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