What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is an organic chemical, released in our brain that makes us feel good.
The original concept
California psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sepah is the creator of Dopamine Fasting. According to his original concept, Dopamine Fasting is a method, based on cognitive behavioural therapy. That helps to become less dominated by unhealthy stimuli such as social media, phone notifications, beeping, or rigging.
What is dopamin fasting
In Dopamine Fasting, instead of reacting automatically to these unhealthy stimuli which give us immediate but short-lived pleasure by responding to them, we give a break to our brain. The idea behind this concept is redirecting our brain to find natural activities which gain long-lasting happiness.
The biggest misconception of Dopamine Fasting is forcing our brain to do fasting for a long period of time which makes a huge difference in the usual lifestyle.
In original theory, Dr. Cameron Sepah’s recommended way of fasting was to make minimal disruption to our lifestyles.
That means, start fasting for a shorter period doesn’t create a huge difference to the usual lifestyle because dopamine “fast” doesn’t actually lower your dopamine levels even though you engage in a lengthy period of fasting by avoiding overstimulating activities.
When you force yourself to do Dopamine Fasting for a long period and come back to the usual lifestyle, the urge for unhealthy stimuli too is regenerating.
In Sepah’s interview with New York Times, he said “Dopamine is just a mechanism that explains how addictions can become reinforced, and makes for a catchy title. The title’s not to be taken literally”
As per Judson Brewer, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at Brown University who specializes in addiction, mindfulness is the technique that has been used during the fasting period.
According to Brewer, the science behind the concept of mindfulness is replacing a better option that is not dopamine-driven, instead of generating dopamine by unhealthy stimuli. The better option is curiosity, because, intrinsically, rewarding behaviours such as curiosity don’t become habituated, and you don’t deplete curiosity.
Therefore, the healthiest method and the recommended way to the Dopamine Fasting is starting with baby steps. Don’t jump into lengthy fasting periods. If you need long-lasting results don’t try to change your lifestyle overnight. It takes time.
Based on HARVARD HEALTH BLOG - Dopamine fasting: Misunderstanding science spawns a maladaptive fad