Orexin signalling is linked to the regulation of risk-avoidance behaviour; however, the brain circuits involved are poorly understood. Blomeley et al. showed that orexin released by neurons in the lateral hypothalamus excites dopamine D2-receptor-expressing cells (D2 cells) in the nucleus accumbens of mice and that suppression of D2 cell activity abolishes orexin-driven risk avoidance in behavioural assays. This may help us to understand more about neuropsychiatric disorders associated with abnormal orexin signalling.