How do they differ?
Turns out the neural process behind wanting something and liking it may be distinctly different, with dopamine being the core driver of some addictive behaviors.
It may sound crazy, but wanting something, such as food, drugs or sex may not necessarily be because we like it. Evolutionary wise, dopamine contributes to us to wanting food and sex for survival and reproduction, with most of us having positive rewards in the past from these desires. For example, when we are hungry, we seek out food even though we may not even enjoy what we are consuming.
The dopamine release during eating, gambling, having sex or taking drugs appears to be associated with the addictive nature of eating disorders, sex addictions or drug addictions, due to an expected beneficial outcome or reward. So, turns out you don’t need to like something to want it, as long it’s associated with a past pleasurable reward.
This kind of research provides further insight into understanding human behaviors and provides potential to assist patients with health concerns such as addictions and eating disorders.