The brain regulates our mental health via the use of a symphony of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating your emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Amongst these neurotransmitters, there are some feel-good neurotransmitters. One of the most important feel-good neurotransmitters is dopamine. It is responsible for feelings of reward or motivation and pleasure. However, we live in a world that’s filled with instant gratification and a constant bombardment of external stimulation. Thus, at times, there is excessive dopamine release in our body. This leads to burnout, reduction in our levels of motivation, and finally, extreme difficulties in concentration which makes dopamine detox essential. Thus, the topic of this block post is dopamine detox.
In this comprehensive guide, I will explain to you the signs that indicate that you are heading towards addiction, symptoms indicating that you are due for a detox, and how to conduct the detox so that you can live a more fulfilling and improved life with regards to your mental health.
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What is a dopamine detox?
Dopamine detox is a term that has recently been gaining a lot of traction in the realm of self-improvement and mental health. This method of detox is not about the elimination of dopamine completely. However, this method does focus on helping you recalibrate your brain by reducing your exposure to activities that can cause an overwhelming release of dopamine.
What is dopamine?
Before I explain to you dopamine detox, you must understand what is dopamine itself. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released via our brains. It is responsible for many psychological and physiological actions. It belongs to the class of neurotransmitters referred to as catecholamines. Dopamine is produced in many areas of the brain, including the ventral tegmental area and substantia Niagra.
As I mentioned before, dopamine has many activities. Let’s look at some of the most crucial activities of dopamine that relate to your mental health.
Pleasure and reward
One of the fundamental functions of the neurotransmitter is to conduct regulation of the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. When you conduct an activity that is associated with a reward or pleasure, dopamine is released in your brain and causes you to feel happy.
If you play games and win a game or when you eat delicious food, the brain releases dopamine. This feel-good factor that comes in is because of dopamine. Dopamine creates a sense of happiness and satisfaction and tends to reinforce that behavior in you so that you do it again and again.
Goal-directed behavior and motivation
Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter that is involved in providing you with regular motivation to help you keep moving towards your goals and achieve them as I mentioned before. dopamine has a role in the reward-based learning system of our brains. It plays an active role in our decision-making process. If we are engaging in a task that is creative and involves a reward, the levels of dopamine rise in the brain. This in turn promotes motivation and boosts you to finish the task sooner so that you can get that reward.
Dopamine also has a huge role in regulating the motor functions of the body. If a person becomes deficient in dopamine, they are more susceptible to developing Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Dopamine reduction in the body is associated with tremors and heightened difficulty in movements.
Role of Dopamine in mental health.
Even though dopamine is extremely important for the brain to continue being healthy and functional, an excess or imbalance in the levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to a wide range of issues. In case a person has high dopamine stimulation over a prolonged period, they may face detrimental effects.
Dopamine has a huge contribution to the development of addiction. Most behaviors regarding addictive substances like gambling, drug use, being addicted to social media, etc.
lead to a surge in dopamine levels in the brain. Over time, this constant surge leads to development of the addictive patterns as the brain tends to become dependent on high levels of dopamine for its functioning.
Impairment of focus and attention person.
If a person is constantly exposed to different activities that cause the rapid release of dopamine in the brain, it can desensitize the reward system of the brain itself. This makes it extremely challenging for the person to focus on a task that may be less stimulating than the level at which dopamine is released (eg: gratification from gaming). This is most often seen in individuals who tend to spend a lot of time on digital devices or frequently engage in multitasking activities.
Studies have also linked dopamine to mood disorders. An imbalance in the levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to depression as well as bipolar disorder. In some cases, it has been observed that such people face a huge imbalance in the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and its transporters or receptors.
Sources of high dopamine release
Now that you know how dopamine contributes to the development of mental health conditions, the next thing that we need to focus on is the sources that are responsible for the excessive release of dopamine in the brain. If you are thinking of undergoing dopamine detox, this information is crucial for your success. Some of the common culprits that are responsible for excessive dopamine release are:
The endless scrolling through social media causes a surge of dopamine release in the brain. Over time, the constant and repetitive behavior makes the person addicted to social media. If they are not on social media, dopamine is not released and they don’t feel good about the day. The endless scrolling, the constant notifications, and the social validation that people receive from social media primarily lead to the formation of this positive feedback loop of
dopamine release in their brain.
Those who are constantly engaged in playing video games also have high levels of dopamine production in their brains. The reward system of video games triggers the release of dopamine which in turn makes people addicted to this form of positive reinforcement that is very easily available. The same level of positive reinforcement is hard to find in other actions like studying or their jobs et cetera. This is why they get more addicted to video games. After a point, such people do not find pleasure in their day-to-day activities. They do not feel good about themselves unless they engage in gaming. the excess dopamine release is behind their addiction.
Sugar and junk food
Other factors that lead to high levels of dopamine release in the brain are sugar items and junk foods. Since these are highly palatable and tasty, they also lead to addictive behavior and cravings in the person. such factors lead to unhealthy eating patterns in people and only increase over time if not checked early.
Needless to say, by now you must have figured out that dopamine is the primary culprit behind the development of substance abuse towards alcohol, drugs, and other medications. Since all of these have the potential to artificially elevate the production of dopamine in the brain, it leads to a self-perpetuating loop of positive reinforcement and drugs, in turn causing addiction and dependence in the person.
Signs and symptoms that you need dopamine detox
The first sign of whether you need a document detox or not is to check yourself for the symptoms of dopamine overload.
If you have symptoms of dopamine overload in your brain, you need to implement detox measures. Alternatively, if you are identifying addictive tendencies, or high levels of procrastination and shattered focus levels, these are also signs that you should start on dopamine detox. Let’s look at the signs and symptoms that indicate that it is time for a detox in detail before I discuss how to do dopamine detox
Recognize the signs of dopamine overload.
if you are constantly feeling tired, sleepy, and fatigued, you may be a victim of dopamine overload. Excessive dopamine stimulation has been associated with this condition. Even though dopamine is associated with energy and motivation, an imbalance in the level of dopamine or an overload in the production level can leave you constantly feeling tired. This is because the brain over time has become desensitized to the effect of dopamine and now needs high levels of dopamine to feel that same self-satisfaction that previously would occur with lower levels of the neurotransmitter
Absence of motivation
If finding motivation is a struggle for you, you may need a dopamine detox. If you notice that you have to struggle every day to muster the same enthusiasm that used to automatically come to you previously, it is a sign of dopamine overstimulation. Studies have shown that reduced motivation is most often observed in those who have faced an over-stimulated reward system previously
If you find yourself procrastinating a lot, and find it very difficult to start on your work, it is also an indication that you are in urgent need of a detox. The brain will never engage in tasks that it does not feel good about. If you are facing a dopamine overload in your system, then engaging in tasks that are difficult or not high in rewards will be very hard for your brain to accept. Therefore, the brain will resist engaging and activities that are not immediately rewarding due to the high expectation that is associated with rich experiences like gaming, shopping, coffee, et cetera
Understanding the relation of dopamine with addiction
Compulsive use of technology
Do you find yourself obsessed with your social media notifications? Putting down your phone for an extended period is very hard for you. Are you someone who posts daily and is constantly concerned with the number of likes your post on social media is getting? If you are facing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then it is time that you need a detox. This behavior signifies a dependence on high levels of dopamine that is available from online interactions. In other words, you are addicted to social media.
If gaming makes up a significant part of your day, and you find it extremely difficult to stop your game and focus on your studies. disengage from your gaming when needed, it indicates that you have an unhealthy reliance on video games for the production of dopamine in your brain. Your brain has got used to the high levels of dopamine that gaming produces and because of this, it does not want to engage in other activities which may cause low dopamine production.
Overconsumption of Substances
If you notice that you are excessively dependent on items like nicotine, caffeine, or other simulation to maintain your energy level and focus, it is a huge sign that your natural dopamine pathways in the brain are completely disrupted and it is time to make a change.
How does dopamine affect focus and motivation?
The next question that may come into your mind is how high levels of dopamine affect motivation and focus when it has been specifically stated that dopamine is responsible for helping you be more focused and have motivation. Here is how dopamine hurts your focus and motivation levels.
If you have an overstimulation of dopamine in your system, it can become very difficult for you to maintain your focus on tasks that do not provide you with high dopamine. These activities may be studying, working, engaging in long-term projects, focusing on your mental health, physical fitness et cetera. This directly hinders your productivity and makes it extremely difficult for you to work on, stay motivated, and concentrate on your long-term goals.
Reduced decision-making capability
If your brain has excess dopamine, it can impair your decision-making process. Dopamine tends to redirect the brain towards impulsive choices, instead of letting you think your decision through. The primary reason behind this is that impulsive choices provide gratification, which in turn causes instant production of high levels of dopamine in your brain. So why should your brain engage in thinking, decision-making, and focusing on long-term goals when it can get a surge of dopamine right here, right now?
One moment you’re happy, the other moment you’re sad, one moment you feel euphoric, the other moment you feel irritable. If this is what has been going on with you, it is a clear indication that you are facing an imbalance in your dopamine levels. Unstable mood patterns can have a serious negative impact on your relationships and your overall well-being.
Understanding the signs of unhealthy levels of dopamine is the first step toward documenting detox. If you have resonated with multiple indicators that implicate an overload of dopamine in your system, it is time to focus on strategies that allow you to rebalance the levels of this neurotransmitter and help you regain control over your emotional and mental state.
Understanding the science behind dopamine detox
To do dopamine detox, you need to know how this method can bring a fundamental change in your brain’s neural pathways and allow you to lead a more fulfilling life with a healthy balance of dopamine. Here is the science-backed proof of how dopamine detox works:
Dopamine detox enhances the neuroplasticity
Our brains are one of the most amazing creations of this world. The brain can even reorganize itself when needed. This reorganization is referred to as neuroplasticity. When you engage in a dopamine detox, the brain gets a chance to work and recalibrate the reward and pleasure system. When exposure to activities that trigger high levels of dopamine release is reduced, the neural pathways that are responsible for dopamine release also undergo a reset as well. This allows the brain to provide a more balanced response towards stimuli.
Downregulation of the receptors
When the brain is forced to produce high levels of dopamine, it can lead to a downregulation in dopamine receptor production. This further restructures the sensitivity of the brain towards high dopamine levels. when you engage in a dopamine detox, the lowered sensitivity of the brain towards low levels of dopamine is enhanced and the brain is better able to respond to the moderate levels of dopamine production.
Role of neuroplasticity in breaking addiction
When people engage in addictive behavior, a cycle of reinforcement is created. In this reinforcement cycle, the brain starts to associate certain specific tasks with responses of reward and pleasure. When you start the process of dopamine detox, you interrupt this cycle of pleasure and rewards. This duration of abstinence provides the brain the chance to work on and build better associations, and better habits and in turn, boost your productivity.
Formation of new neural connections
Our brain is one of the most adaptable organs on the planet. When dopamine stimulation is withheld, it adjusts to the change by forming new neural connections. This process is extremely critical and needed for breaking old habits and generating new neural pathways that allow for more sustainable and balanced behaviors.
Studies on dopamine detox: what does neuroscience say?
Studies on addiction
Studies conducted in the field of addiction have shown that when a person engages in intermittent dopamine detox or has lower levels of dopamine stimulation, it can help in the treatment of various substance abuse disorders. This primarily happens because of the neuroplasticity of the brain and the formation of new connections. However, dopamine detox has proven to be extremely beneficial in promoting recovery from addiction.
Studies on cognitive flexibility
On the other hand dopamine detox has also been linked to a boost in cognitive flexibility. This means that dopamine fasting makes a person more adaptable to changing circumstances. They feel more adaptable, can easily resist impulsive behaviors, focus on making decisions based on their long-term goals, and are more ready to deal with the next curveball life throws at them.
Designing your dopamine detox plan
When it comes to dopamine detox, there is no ‘ one size fits all, type situation. The detox method that worked beautifully for you may seem worthless to your friend. This is because we are all different individuals with different personalities, characteristics, and thinking patterns. What provides you gratification may not work the same for your friend. Thus, some careful assessment is required before you embark on your dopamine detox journey.
Assess your current dopamine-producing tasks
Find out what provides you the most pleasure and instant gratification. This list can vary across different individuals, so write down everything that provides you gratification.
In today’s world, everyone has a smartphone. It takes less than 2 seconds to open social media and start watching. This is also the biggest source of dopamine production. Thus, step one is to identify and quantify the time you spend on various digital devices like laptops, phones, and tablets. Also, make another list of the apps that you visit the most on these devices.
Gaming and entertainment
Every time I conduct my Twitch livestream, I usually get one query:” Do you play games?” I gave up on playing games a long time ago. I don’t have that kind of free time. However, when making your list, note down how much time you are spending on TV series. movies, video games, or other entertainment methods that cause instant gratification and heighten feelings of pleasure.
check how much of your diet comprises processed food, caffeinated beverages, sugary snacks, chips, etc. Make a list of these as well. Such food items can cause a surge of dopamine production in your brain.
Set realistic goals for your dopamine detox
Define your objectives for dopamine detox
Some people can change multiple traits at one go, without making it difficult. However, you don’t have to change multiple traits. Start with one and add in the others as and when you get comfortable. Define the goal that you wish to achieve by this dopamine detox journey. When you have well-defined meaningful objectives, keeping at them and not quitting is easier.
Sudden stops can put you in withdrawal and negatively affect your motivation levels. Therefore phase out the habit you want to rid yourself of. Engage with those less and less every day till you don’t feel the need to even for that habit. Focus on slowly and gradually lowering your exposure to dopamine-releasing activities.
Focus on alternatives
Suddenly ceasing activities that were providing you a huge surge of dopamine can negatively impact your mental health. Therefore, along with phasing them out, add in alternative healthy habits like engaging in self-care, going for a run, meeting up with loved ones, etc. You can also introduce new hobbies in your life. These will provide you satisfaction while not causing the overproduction of dopamine.
Design a schedule for dopamine detox
Factor in breaks
Add in scheduled breaks when you will be away from all digital devices. These breaks can be 5 mins or as long as you want. During this time, engage in activities that can be done without the use of digital devices. You can schedule these breaks by using your time, reminder, or alarm app on your phone.
Focus on mindfulness
Add some mindful routines to your day-to-day practice. These techniques will help rewire your brain and boost neuroplasticity. Thus, your brain will adjust faster to the lower dopamine levels.
Get out in nature
Allocate some time to be outdoors. A five-minute exposure to nature can boost your mental health and help with dopamine detox. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and boost your overall well-being. This provides a counterbalance towards the overstimulation from the constant digital environment.
Tips for a successful dopamine detox
The steps to take
Have a digital dopamine detox day
Allocate specific days in the week when you will engage in a complete digital detox. Disconnect and unplug yourself from all of your devices and focus on analog activities like going on a hike, meeting your friends, treating yourself to a good meal cooked at home, etc. This will give your brain a break from the constant hum.
Support System for dopamine detox
Share the goals of dopamine detox with your family and friends as well. It is crucial to have a support system when you embark on a mental health journey. They can be there for you when times get hard, encourage you, and hold you accountable.
Journaling is a great way to track and record your progress on your digital detox journey. Along with your experiences, you can also document your feelings, thoughts, difficulties, and reflections as you go.
Monitoring and making adjustments to the dopamine detox plan
As we change. our requirements change. It is crucial to be ready to adjust your goals depending on the stage you are at in your dopamine detox journey. Make a note of the positive changes. If a specific strategy is not working out. find another one. It may take a few trials and errors for you to find the right strategy.
Make changes to your plan as and when needed. If you have habits that are very hard to change, find a different strategy. Alternatively, you can modify your detox approach to better suit your needs. Do not give up till you find the right approach.
Maintenance plan post dopamine detox
Plan for the post-detox phase as well. Doing a dopamine detox does not mean that you go back to your old habits after the detox is over. These new routines should be worked on enough so that they become a habit and second nature for you. Integrate the lessons you learn here into your lifestyle.
Strategies for reducing your screen time
Start with setting your boundaries
Whether it’s for work or leisure, set up a specific time when you will use your phone. You can use screen time apps on trackers to make sure you stay within your limits and not cross them.
Have one day of the week when you will be away from all screens. This day will be your digital sabbath. This 24-hour break will help your brain reset the responses toward dopamine and allow you to find pleasure in other hobbies and activities.
Have tech-free zones
Designate specific sections of your home where screens won’t be allowed. These can be your bedroom, study room or even your dining table. When you enter these sections, your brain will immediately realize the absence of dopamine and will try to find meaning in other activities.
Add in mindful routines
If you have never engaged in mindfulness before, start small and then increase your duration. When and how much time to extend will depend on your comfort and focus. Even engaging in a couple of minutes doing focused breathing can make a world of difference.
Guided meditation is another process that can help you be more mindful and live in the present. Many apps like Headspace and Calm can help you get into a regular practice of meditation, especially if you are new to this.
Add mindfulness to everyday tasks
Mindfulness does not have to be something you engage in only when you are completely free. You can also engage in mindfulness in your everyday activities like walking, commuting, or even eating. All you have to do is pay attention to your present moment. It will boost your awareness and reduce your brain’s constant search for stimulation.
Engage in balanced activities
Explore new hobbies
Find and engage in hobbies that do not require you to constantly look at a screen. Instead of scrolling, go for walking, hiking, cycling, painting, pottery, etc. These off-screen hobbies can be very rewarding to your brain and fulfilling for your mental health.
Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk, it can make an immense difference to your stress levels and regulate your moods. Even if it’s a 5-minute exercise, it should be a part of your everyday routine. You can also be a part of a team sport, go for a jog, or practice yoga.
Engage in social interaction
Humans can be social animals. Face-to-face connections hit us differently. They have a much higher impact than texts or phone calls. Engage in activities that involve your family and provide you with a genuine sense of connection and a support system.
Dealing with the withdrawal of dopamine detox
Hydration is crucial when you are going through any form of detox. Dehydration will just accelerate your feelings of loneliness, irritability, and fatigue and interfere with your detox session.
Count your breath going in and out. Then try to hold your breath for the same count as input and output. Focus on slowing down your breath so that your nervous system can calm down.
Find ways to distract yourself in a positive manner
When you start to crave being on your phone or when the cravings hit, engage in positive activities that will help redirect your attention towards something else. You can either go for a walk, read a book, work on your hobbies, or engage in activities that do not involve screen time.
Build an accountability support system
Share your goals:
Let your friends and family know about the goals of your detox. and what it is you wish to achieve via them. Having a proper support system comprising of people whom you can count on in times of need can be very helpful and propel you forward on your journey
Join online communities
Connect with online communities on forums that are specifically dedicated to digital minimalism and dopamine detox. When you share your experiences, tips, and insights with like-minded individuals, they can offer you the motivation and insights that keep you going.
Find an accountability partner
Find someone who shares similar detox goals as you. Partner with them for detox accountability. Regular check-ins and mutual support can be incredible in enhancing your commitment to your detox goals. This can keep a positive feedback loop going that keeps you motivated.
Adjusting your dopamine detox plan
The key to achieving a proper outcome is to be flexible. A plan that may have worked for others may not work for you. Therefore be ready to make changes down the line as and when required. When you are flexible and ready to make changes when needed, it will allow you to have a more personalized and sustainable experience.
Schedule regular sessions with yourself. Look back at your progress and find out where you might be lacking, what needs to be changed, and how to implement the changes in your lifestyle. You will be made aware of these factors only when you engage in self-reflection.
Celebrate the wins
Celebrate every win, whether big or small. These will show you that you are on the right track and just need to keep moving forward. Acknowledge even the small improvements and reward yourself. This will boost your motivation and keep you from straying from your goal.
Overcoming the challenges in dopamine detox
When you try to get rid of a deeply ingrained habit, facing withdrawal is quite common. Understand and acknowledge that withdrawal is a part and parcel of your journey. These symptoms signify that your drain is adjusting to a better and healthier baseline.
Focus and engage in mindfulness and mindfulness-based activities to accept and let your cravings pass without acting on them. You must understand that cravings are only temporary and will go away if you show a little bit of resilience. Eventually, you will get more comfortable with your schedule and staying away from screens.
Hydration and nutrition
If your diet is unhealthy and your body is dehydrated, it will only exacerbate your symptoms of withdrawal. therefore, you must focus on maintaining a proper diet with proper hydration leads so your body can better combat the symptoms.
Build emotional resilience
There is no better way to track your everyday progress than with regular journaling. Note down your progress at the end of each day. This can also act as your very personal therapist. When you document your detox journey, you will be able to see your progress, identify your pitfalls, gain insights, and make changes to your schedule so you can stay on track.
Practice using positive affirmations every day. Remind yourself that it will be a good day and you will make the most of it. Spend a few minutes every day telling yourself about the benefits of digital detox and the final goal that you are working towards. Tell yourself you will overcome your challenges and not give in to your temptations. Positive self-talk can boost your mindset.
Adjusting your expectations
You must understand that the process of dopamine detox is unique for every person. What worked for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. Your progress may not follow a linear path either. Be patient and kind to yourself. Adjust your expectations keep putting one foot in front of the other and proceed forward.
Re-evaluate your goals
Assess your goals periodically. Ensure that the goals you have set for yourself are realistic and attainable. If it seems like you have put too much on your plate and are not able to handle it, reassess everything and adjust your goals based on your insights and experiences
Post dopamine detox lifestyle changes
Gradual return of dopamine-inducing tasks
Once the detox is over, gradually bring back the dopamine-inducing activities. Bring them back into your life in a mindful manner. Be aware of the potential impact of these on your well-being and focus on achieving moderation rather than going all out and into complete indulgence.
Focus on balance
When you start bringing back your dopamine-inducing activity, prioritize balance. Without a balance, you will get overindulged in your dopamine-inducing activities. Focus on having a harmonious balance between your self-care, leisure, and work tasks. This way no one single aspect will dominate your energy and time.
Sustainable choices for dopamine detox
Focus on intentional decision-making
Approach the decisions regarding leisure, technology, and work intentionally. Make choices that align with your goals and values and lead to a more fulfilling, balanced, and productive life.
The next thing that you should focus on is to form and nurture meaningful relationships with your friends and family, as well as your community. When you have strong social connections, your emotional well-being becomes better and can become your natural source of support and joy.
I cannot emphasize on this point enough. This section is the most crucial one for your success. If you do not check in and find out what’s working for you and what is not, you will not succeed in your aim of a complete dopamine detox. In case you notice signs and symptoms of stress and unbalance, start taking proactive steps so you can address the problems before they become overwhelming for you.
Maintain a healthy dopamine balance
Focus on maintaining a mindset that involves lifelong mindfulness. You must understand that maintaining a dopamine balance and staying mindful is a lifelong journey If you stop it, chances are you will engage in activities that cause excessive dopamine release again. Therefore, you must focus on maintaining a healthy level of dopamine and commit to your well-being.
Learn to adapt. Life will always be in constant flux. There will always be the next thing to tackle. Your well-being is in your hands. As your circumstances and priorities evolve, adjust your habits so they can align with your goals and needs.
Seek professional support
If you are constantly overwhelmed, stressed, or are having difficulty facing challenges, get help from mental health practitioners. They can tailor the plan to suit your needs so it’s easier for you to navigate through any rough patches that may arise.
In this digitally driven world, it is hard to stay away from things that lead to a dopamine rush in our brains. This is why the concept of dopamine detox is crucial. It is a way for us to regain control over our mental well-being. In this blog post, I discussed the signs that you need dopamine detox, how dopamine detox works, and all the ways of maintaining a healthy dopamine balance in your life.
As we pass through this dopamine-filled era, you must understand that the key to dopamine balance lies in adaptability, mindfulness, self-acceptance, and a commitment toward yourself. Having the right balance helps you make better decisions, and informed choices and prioritize your well-being
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Dopamine detox involves reducing a person’s exposure to activities that cause high dopamine release in the brain. These activities involve spending time on social media, playing video games, and other tasks that provide a sense of instant gratification. The purpose of the detox is to reset the neural pathways and allow for a balanced relationship.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a crucial role in reward, motivation, pleasure, and other cognitive activities. Even though dopamine is crucial for a healthy brain, excessive stimulation with dopamine can lead to burnout; addiction, and reduction in motivation levels.
Signs that a dopamine detox is needed are reduction in motivation levels, procrastination, constant fatigue, compulsive behavior when it comes to certain activities like playing games or being on social media, etc.
Dopamine detox involves the reduction of exposure to activities that cause excessive dopamine release and allow the natural neural pathways to reset. This mainly includes intermittent dopamine fasting i.e. cutting yourself from activities that cause high dopamine production. This promotes neuroplasticity in the brain and breaks addictive patterns.