• Mauro Herrera

What Is Dopamine Detox And Why Is Everyone In Silicon Valley Doing It?

For a few months now I've heard about dopamine detox and dopamine fasting. It seemed strange to me at first, but I didn't want to rush into anything until I spoke to my doctor about it.

This concept was invented by Dr. Cameron Sepah, a Silicon Valley psychologist. He talked about the effects instant rewards have on our brain, and how we can make ourselves immune to that feeling of reward.

It's as if we have an addiction problem, such as addiction to tobacco or alcohol. Only this time, it's stimulus addiction. In this way, we can desensitize ourselves, just like an addict does towards the substance that he consumes.

In the same way that a person must smoke more and more cigarettes to feel satisfaction, we need more and more stimuli to satisfy ourselves.

Are you addicted to dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, these are chemicals that activate our neurons. We need them to focus, move our body and feel motivated.

Dopamine is responsible for making us feel euphoric, animated, and in a good mood. This is produced naturally when we do things that make us feel pleasure.

The problem is that today we have too many sources of pleasure. Therefore, we're full of dopamine all the time, and it stops affecting our brain as before.

Just as someone becomes resistant to medication after taking so much of it, we become resistant to this neurotransmitter.

What happens when we become resistant to dopamine?

We find it difficult to concentrate, feel motivated to make changes in our life, adopt new habits, and we are prone to being depressed. So if you find yourself having a hard time doing anything more than lying in bed and watching social media lately, you may need dopamine fast.

How do you fast dopamine?

Dopamine is not like tobacco or other drugs, your brain cannot simply stop producing it.

What you can do is cut out the sources of immediate satisfaction that effortlessly skyrocket our dopamine levels.

That is the use of digital devices, eating carbohydrates and sweets, recreational drugs, gaming, porn, and masturbation. Basically, anything that gives you effortless pleasure.

Of course, it's not about cutting these things out entirely. It works like a normal detox, it works to "reset" our brain.

The point is that you do it for a certain time. One day, one week, a few hours a day. In this way, you can correct your dopamine tolerance and you will feel satisfied with everyday things.

And what do you do in the meantime? Do things that give you pleasure, but require time and effort. Like working out, reading a book, or being with family and friends.

You'll be able to focus better on your tasks, your mood will improve, and you will feel motivated to do new things.

Does it actually work?

It is still something very "new" and there are not too many studies on it. My doctor and several others recommend it since, in the end, it does not carry any risk to your health.

What does Harvard have to say about it?

In this Harvard Medical School blog post, Dr. Peter Grinspoon exposes that there is a misunderstanding with all of this. That the thinking behind dopamine fasting is wrong, however, it can lead to healthier habits.

You don't detox from dopamine, you just focus on activities that are healthier for you.

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