Dopamine is one of our main driving forces for doing what we do in our day to day basis. But many including myself need a detox from high amounts of dopamine. To figure why we need a detox from this neurotransmitter called dopamine, we need to understand that dopamine is.
What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a part of our reward system that gives us a feeling of pleasure and motivation. Some called this the feel good chemical. Without dopamine we would not get out of bed in the morning. The kicker is without dopamine we wouldn’t do anything at all. For example, take a look at pizza vs a salad. Which one are you more motivated to eat? Pizza or a salad? I can confidently say that 99% of the people will pick the pizza or at least deep down want to pick the pizza. Why is this? Besides for the good taste of the pizza, the pizza gives you a high rush of dopamine. When the salad only gives you very little dopamine. So most people are going to choose the pizza over the salad.
Here’s a fact about dopamine: everything we do gives you some what of a dopamine release, like talking, walking, writing, driving, painting, listening to music, and even boring things like reading books. So to not get dopamine at all, you would just have to sit in a white room alone doing nothing at all. Some things just give you a higher release of dopamine like video games, watching TV and movies, internet surfing, porn, alcohol, and drugs. That is why you will see more people watching TV than reading a book. The TV gives you a much higher release of dopamine and the book gives you very little.
Why Is Getting Too Much Dopamine Bad?
When you consistently do things that release a high amounts of dopamine, your brain actually starts to change itself. The brain has to stay at an equilibrium or in other words a balance. To help the brain stay at a balance, the brain lows it dopamine receptors. What this means is that less things will make you feel good. Just like a bodybuilder who takes steroids, a substance that gives your body high levels of testosterone to help you build and repair the muscle quickly. After a while of constantly giving your body artificial testosterone, it stops producing testosterone on its own. This could be catastrophic to their health.
Similarly with the bodybuilder, constantly doing things that give your brain a high release of dopamine, it stops producing as much dopamine anymore. This is what leads to depression, low motivation, fatigue, boredom, and low physical energy. This is why everyone is so lazy nowadays, because real life is no longer pleasureful anymore. People need to be overstimulated with screens and drugs to feel even remotely happy.
This is called neuroplasticity where your brain start to change itself based off of the things you experience. Growing up, I always thought that internet pornography was harmless to your mental health. It wasn’t until I quit watching porn many years ago that I started to feel happier and simply sitting outside feeling the wind in my face was pleasureful again. These high dopamine releasing things makes you desensitized to everyday life. That is why kids would rather sit in front of a screen all day long than play outside.
Everything in the body remains at a balance. Just because you feel depressed, that doesn’t mean your body isn’t at a balance.
Why Did Depression Skyrocket?
Depression launched high and is increasing every day because more and more people are owning smartphones. 96% of Americans own smartphones now. This means that 96% of Americans are getting high hits of dopamine every second. Just like telling a person with an addiction to quit, it’s not that easy. Having easy access to things that release high levels of dopamine is detrimental to your life.
Dopamine is double edged sword because without it, you would be a zombie, and with too much of it, you become a zombie also. You will have no desire to move your body at all.
Too much dopamine is the very reason that many Americans are lazy and not ambitious because their brains are being hijacked by too much dopamine. You can’t blame anyone because what you are going to choose, something that gives you a high reward with little effort and little time or something that gives you a smaller reward but it takes double the effort and double the time? Of course the high reward with little effort is the better immediate option. But this options becomes addicting and declines your mental health overtime.
Take away dopamine and you won’t be addicted to anything mentally.
The Dopamine Detox
This is why people need to do a dopamine detox. Similar to people needing a body detox from unhealthy foods, they need a dopamine detox from things that give you a high amount of dopamine.
When we say dopamine detox, I don’t mean to cut out everything that gives you pleasure. You need to figure out what your vice is, if that’s video games, internet surfing, alcohol, TV, social media, candy crush, whatever you do on the daily basis that you overindulge in, don’t do it for at least 1 to 2 days. This will help you reset your dopamine receptors and your reward center.
For a lot of people they will see their depression and anxiety start to disappear as their brain starts to get back more dopamine receptors. This means that everyday life becomes exciting and pleasureful again. Talking to people becomes a pleasure instead of a chore. For me my biggest vice was porn and video games, and once I cut out those two things out, my life started to become more magical.
I remember when I did my first dopamine detox a couple years ago, the next day I got into my car to drive to the gym and when I played music while I was driving, it felt so good, that I actually just wanted to keep driving. All because I cut out things that gave me such a high release of dopamine like video games. Then the following day, while still doing the dopamine detox, despite being socially anxiety at the time, I started conversations with strangers because my brain craved dopamine, and it got it naturally just by talking to people.
The Reason For The Dopamine Detox
The whole reason for the dopamine detox is to regulate your dopamine, so that simply being alive, doing basic real world things makes you feel good and gives you a dopamine release. This helps you to be more motivated by life itself, instead of feeling dragged down. When one becomes overstimulated by artificial stimuli, the real world starts to seem boring and depressing. The detox helps make life seem like you are a kid again.
Why a lot of people will struggle with doing the dopamine detox is because we only do things as long as there is a reward.
Besides for making real life more pleasureful, the real reason for a dopamine detox is to prevent you from masking your pain with pleasure. So instead of ignoring your reality by escaping from it through drugs, alcohol, pornography, internet, TV, you just face it head on. You take the time to actually figure out and understand your reality and fix it instead running from it.
I hope this article helped you understand yourself a little better. I hope you give the detox a try and see how your life changes from it.
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