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Dopamine Detox: Should You Try It?

Is your mind okay?
Dopamine+receptors+OVERLOADED
courtesy of Creative Commons Google Images
Dopamine receptors OVERLOADED

A dopamine detox is when you intentionally abstain from most high-level, instant-releasing dopamine activities like phone scrolling or video games. This can last however long you want, but the science-based answer for how long it takes to reset your dopamine levels to normal is around ninety days. I know that that’s pretty daunting for most of you. It definitely is for me. So if you’re not up for that much of a challenge you can do it for just a week or even a few days, just to refresh. There are a few reasons you might want to try a dopamine detox.

I’m going to start off by saying I’m also in your boat. When I say that your dopamine levels are fried, I’m not judging or being rude, because mine are too. I haven’t completed a dopamine detox yet, but I plan to and understand the beneficial nature of such a reset. I am simply aware of how bad the instant dopamine has been for me and you, and the ways you can address or reset this. Respectfully, scrolling TikTok or Instagram has cooked your mind and mine.

So, before I tell you how to fix it, I should convince you that you actually should. Let’s go on a mental journey real quick. Imagine you just got home from school or work. You sit or lie down in your room, boot up your favorite app, and begin to scroll. After a bit, you check the time and BAM. Two and a half hours. Do you feel better now than you did before that? Probably not. Logic tells us that such a time sink would need major, major benefits to be justified. But it just doesn’t. The addictive nature of most of these sites lies in quick bursts of dopamine. The “short video” format has taken that and cranked it way up. I’m not trying to demonize these sites, and I am glad they exist. However, we should be aware of how they are affecting us. If you don’t want to do a full detox you can also set timers when you use these apps to remind you to stop and to interrupt your dopamine coma.

Alright, so how do you do a dopamine detox? You can do it in different ways. The hardest, most intense way, is to avoid as much of the dopamine-releasing things on screens as possible. On a hard dopamine detox, you probably shouldn’t even be reading this. Just letting your mind breathe, it’s been so overstimulated. Now, a softer way is to avoid the most intense or time-consuming dopamine releasers like social media or games. That is still very beneficial. But what happens to your mind when you begin to put your foot off of the pleasure gas is that slowly your attention will improve, your mood will probably improve, feelings of shame for wasting time you didn’t know you were harboring might go away, it can yield many benefits. So give it a shot, if you want. It’s your mind.

 

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