Everything You Need To Know About Dopamine Detox

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 20, 2020

Do you often feel like your life is dictated by impulsive behavior? If yes, then rest assured, you’re not the only one.

In fact, most impulsive behaviors (if not all) such as excessive use of smartphones, overeating, impulsive shopping, and many others can be linked to a neurochemical called dopamine.

Luckily, there are several ways of controlling dopamine-linked impulsive behaviors and the most effective proves to be dopamine detox.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Dopamine and dopamine detox.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is popularly known as a “feel-good” chemical, and its role is primarily linked with incentivizing us for progress and action. It is the reason we feel good after completing a task or crossing something off our to-do list as it is a biological reward for all of the hard work.

The Dopamine Addiction

Dopamine is a necessary chemical for decision-making and motivation. The problem however comes when people get addicted to it. Excessive use of smartphones, obsessing over social media, using video games and binge watching television shows are all ways that lead to dopamine addiction. This unnatural exposure to dopamine is causes reduced focus and increased impulsive behavior.

So, what is Dopamine Detox anyway?

Think of it as a detox for your brain. This essentially works by controlling your impulse behaviors and training your brain to say ‘no’.

How does Dopamine detox work?

One of the ways to deal with this issue is through a dopamine detox or dopamine fasting. This phrase has caught a lot of traction after it was used in an article by Dr. Cameron Sepah.

Dopamine detox works by taking a complete break from smartphones, drugs, sexual activity, videos, food, music, friends, and sometimes even making eye contact for 24 hours. You are also not allowed to drink coffee or any related stimulants, (yes you read that right, even coffee is not allowed).

The only thing people can do is walking, drinking, writing, and meditating. Although this is an extreme approach, the entire 24-hour experience acts as an amazing test to see how addicted someone is to all of these things.

The rationality behind this

The purpose of this activity is to train our brain to be resilient when it comes to compulsive behaviors. Taking a break from such activities allows our brain to rest, and it reduces our exposure to such troubling behaviors.

By taking a 24-hour breather, we also allow ourselves to abstain from our habits that are having a deteriorating impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health. This is somewhat similar to how drug-addicts rehabilitate by detoxing from all drugs and related triggers.

Additionally, the act of avoiding dopamine linked activities forces us to focus on simpler things, in addition to calming our brain and us down. All of this is supposed to make us more capable of dealing with compulsions and making the right decisions.

A positive response

As one would expect, this approach has polarizing views among the scientific community and those who tried it. Many question its rationale and methodology, while others testify to its effectiveness.

The ones who benefited from this dopamine detox reported that they were more focused on their tasks and their minds were more silent, instead of new thoughts bouncing around after every minute. This also helps people in thinking about their problems and figuring out their solutions.

Due to this, naturally, people feel that their mind is working at a higher capacity and they can achieve more. Developing insights, ideas, and perspectives are now easier and the realization that we waste a lot of our time is an obvious take-away from the entire exercise.

It should however be noted that withdrawal eventually kicks in. Hence, people experience intense cravings or have a strong desire to go back to their old ways.


On the flip side, people among the scientific community are skeptical about this approach, as they reason that dopamine cannot be eliminated or lowered in our bodies. They also question the originality of this method, as calls for taking a break from screens, meditating, and practicing mindfulness have been going on for a long time.

The real problem in this approach comes from the misinterpretation of dopamine as an evil part of our brain. This leads to people taking on extreme practices like avoiding food, people, and communication, all of which have been part of our lifestyle since the start. One must realize that dopamine linked with healthy activities is actually good for our health, and it is only the compulsive, destructive, and time-waste activities that we should take a break from.

Summing it up

To conclude, we would recommend practicing dopamine detox for a few hours daily, or on a weekly or monthly basis, whichever suits you well. Taking a break from the constant flow of notification bells, information, entertainment, and all impulsive actions will do wonders for your health, but make sure to not go overboard by avoiding healthy dopamine infused activities as well.

Moderation is key!

2020 © Zenbo Services Ltd. All rights reserved.