What Is Dopamine Detox And How It Will Help You To Find Real Happiness.
Have you ever feel like, you can’t live a moment without your mobile phone? You feel anxious when your internet is not working. You feel lost, sad, lethargic, and lazy after not using the internet for a long time or not playing video games?
When you ask to do other constructive things like study, household work, working on a side hustle you get bored and, unmotivated and give up easily?
Or you have other addictions like drugs and alcohol, smoking, addiction to watching porn, sex addiction, or addiction to other things?
If the answer is yes! Then you are high on Dopamine and you need Dopamine detox as soon as possible.
Almost all of us are involved in high dopaminergic habits in day-to-day life though we may or may not aware of it.
High dopamine surge can affect our lives in many different ways, To tackle this each one of us need to go for Dopamine Detox.
Let’s get more insight on it…
Table of Contents
WHAT IS DOPAMINE?
Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter secreted by brain tissue primarily Substantia Nigra, Hypothalamus, Putamen, and other brain nuclei.
Dopamine mostly helps in Motor Functions, planning, and execution, pleasure, motivation, positive reinforcement, and reward system.
Here we are concerned about the effect of dopamine on the reward pathway and feeling of pleasure.
WHAT IS REWARD PATHWAY?
The Reward Pathway is a bunch of Dopaminergic Neurons and Nuclei. Reward pathway includes Ventral Tegmental Area, Ventral and Dorsal Striatum, Prefrontal Cortex, Lateral Hypothalamus, Amygdala, and several other nuclei and parts of the brain and cerebellum.
A Reward system is responsible for the feeling of liking, wanting, desire, or craving of reward, learning (positive reinforcement), motivation, and pleasure (Joy, Happiness, Ecstasy, and Euphoria).
When we get likes and shares on social media posts, we feel overwhelmed and joyful because of body secret high quantity of dopamine.
This feeling of joy activates the reward pathway. Our brain wants to experience this reward again and again. This develops the craving for that thing and we keep doing it again and again.
HOW DOPAMINE SURGE AFFECT OUR LIFE?
You surf the internet for hours, indulge in lifeless scrolling for hours on social media, play video games for the whole day, but you don’t have a problem doing this endlessly without taking a break and without loss of concentration and enthusiasm.
Because these habits stimulate the secretion of high dopamine
But what if you asked to study for half an hour or work on productive things like the work that let you make money or cook meal or exercise or work on your side business?
Sound difficult, isn’t it? You feel bored even thinking about it. Because of these habits little dopamine.
Though you know inside your mind that studying, exercising, reading books, working on a side hustle, working on constructive things will bring more benefit in your life but still you chose to play games instead, indulge in lifeless scrolling on social media, watch TV or surf through the internet.
This happens because of a high dopamine surge in your body when you feel overwhelmed, happy, and ecstatic after using mobile phones, social media, playing video games, gambling, or after having drugs.
Because dopamine is a pleasure hormone. Whenever we think or experience pleasure body secrets dopamine.
When you play video games or surf through the internet or watch porn you feel overwhelmed and ecstatic because of dopamine.
After a few days of continuing such dopaminergic habits, our bodies’ tolerance for dopamine gets increased. This level becomes a new normal for your brain.
When we go for habits such as studying, reading a book, exercising, or working on office related work that also increases dopamine level but not as much as habits that cause a surge. Because your brain’s dopamine tolerance is already high, low dopamine develops a craving for more dopamine.
If you still continue on low dopaminergic habits, you feel bored and demotivated.
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To satisfy this craving we force ourselves to switch on to check social media several times a day and sit and play video games for the whole day.
Now, you might be thinking, why are some people more motivated to tackle difficult things and others not? And is there a way by which we can make difficult things, easy? The answer to this question is yes and i.e. Dopamine.
Dopamine is often considered a pleasure molecule. But that’s not the only thing what it does. Dopamine makes us desire things. It gives us the motivation to work on goals and complete the milestones.
Our body secret dopamine after every activity but it secrets more when you like that particular activity or you think that activity will give you pleasure and voice-versa.
For instance, when you eat your favorite food or your post on social media get reactions and comments from friends the surge of dopamine occurs in your body because you anticipate that these things will make you feel good.
Because of dopamine surge, you feel overwhelmed and happy and your brain urges for more of this feeling.
To get this experience again and again we repeat dopaminergic habits again and again. Like checking your phone or social media account or watch porn regularly.
The same is true for drug and alcohol addicts. When drug addict takes cocaine or heroin, they get a feeling of overwhelmed, ecstasy, and euphoria because of high dopamine surge. A time comes when the body gets addicted to high dopamine tolerance.
To satisfy this bodily craving they go for drugs often and become addicted to it.
The physiology of every addiction is the same. May it is drugs or internet or porn or gambling or playing games and the list goes on…
Though you know these habits are not a good thing to do but to satisfy bodies craving for high dopamine you switch on to these habits.
Low dopamine influences so much so that people lose motivation to get up from bed, take bath, or have food.
In simple words thing that doesn’t give you a high dopamine surge doesn’t interest you anymore. you lose motivation to do it.
WHY EACH ONE OF US SHOULD GO FOR DOPAMINE DETOX.
In day to day life, we have tons of habits that are highly dopaminergic and less or no beneficial to us.
Because of this, we are neglecting constructive things that will help us and our family to grow personally. Professionally and financially.
If you want to achieve something in life you need to give up these habits as soon as possible. And to do that we need to go for dopamine detox.
DOPAMINE DETOX VS DOPAMINE FASTING AND MISCONCEPTION.
The term “Dopamine fasting” is coined by California based psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sapah. for the same meaning as dopamine detox.
Dr. Sapah admitted that people often misunderstood the title, they are taking it literally. with the term Dopamine fasting. He just means avoiding unhealthy and highly dopaminergic habits and not to completely cut off dopamine production.
He also suggests not doing it compulsively all the time. For instance, if you want to do it daily you can do it for 3 to 4 hours a day or you can do it one day per week or one weekend in a month or one week in the year (go on vacation with family).
I think Dopamine Detox is a more proper title than Dopamine Fasting to avoid misconceptions and barring people from overdoing it.
Always remember our goal is to bring back dopamine to the natural level and not to starve our body for it.
HOW CAN I GO FOR DOPAMINE DETOX?
If you have read this carefully till now you must have got a rough idea of what dopamine detox is.
It is simply avoiding high dopaminergic habits and focusing on things that are constructive and beneficial for you until your brain gets used to it.
While dopamine detoxing you stop flooding your body and brain with a high level of dopamine. So that dopamine receptors recover from it and homeostasis of your body remained maintained.
You must start it gradually because changing these habits is not that easy. You have to be highly focused, self-motivated, and well-disciplined to minimize mistakes.
Start it from small. For instance, once a week i. e. choose one day in a week which is feasible for you.
If possible, ask someone to assist you in this so that he will help to check on you. If by chance you get back to high dopaminergic habits.
Now suppose you selected Sunday for this endeavor. On this day you have to keep yourself away from all the pleasures and do constructive things instead.
This means you will not allow to have the food you like such as junk food instead have simple home-cooked food and not allowed to go to hotels or restaurants. You are not allowed to use the internet, mobile phone, social media, or other electronic gadgets.
You are not allowed to shop luxury products, not allowed to go to the market or shopping mall.
You are not allowed to play video games. You are not allowed to watch TV or listen to your favorite music. Also not allowed to watch porn. You are not allowed to gamble, drink, or smoke.
Basically, you have to avoid all the habits that make you feel overwhelmed and ecstatic.
On the other hand, you are allowed to do things that produce a lower or normal secretion of dopamine.
For example, you are allowed to eat self-cooked home food, exercise, meditate, read books, do household work and go on a trip into nature, or learn new skills like musical instruments.
This day you are allowed to work on office related things, work on a side hustle, work on future projects.
You are allowed to socialize with family and friends or you can stay alone with your own company and thoughts.
Though this looks easy to read, it is far more difficult to follow. You will get bored I mean seriously bored. You will get the urge of getting back to old habits because of bodily craving but you have to be disciplined.
You will feel demotivated, sad, lethargic, and irritated. Just control your feeling, gradually you will get used to it.
After a few attempts, you will start enjoying this low dopamine-producing habits.
You can accelerate dopamine detox slowly as possible to you. Though you will struggle initially but eventually, it can be beneficial for you in the long term and you won’t regret it.
Ideally, it will be great if you avoid these habits totally. Because these habits are a big-time waster and will make you exhausted emotionally and financially.
Self dopamine detox has few limitations, for instance, those people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and have physiological and psychological dependence, and can have withdrawal symptoms. Such people must do it under the supervision of a medical doctor or trained therapist. Because these people can get serious sometimes.
Dopamine is not bad altogether. Each one of us is addicted to dopamine up to a certain limit. And it can be a good thing because, other than pleasure dopamine neurotransmitter helps us in doing intellectual works like learning skills, planning and executing things, motivation, and positive emotions. The only thing is you have to use this for constructive purposes.
Simply Dopamine Detox is giving up the high dopaminergic habits and adapting constructive habits.
Dopamine Detox will be helpful in this condition.
Our body has homeostasis to maintain the normal level of dopamine. When the level goes up more than normal it can cause addiction. On the other hand, when it goes to lower than normal it can cause Parkinson’s Disease, Learning disability, attention deficit, and schizophrenia.
Dopamine detox may help when done properly but it has certain limitations. People who have psychological and physiological dependence should not try it by themselves.
our goal is to bring back dopamine to normal and not to starve for dopamine.