Dopamine Detox: How To Do It The Right Way

Written by Donika Vata | Last updated on August 4, 2023

Are you fed up with wasting hours on social media? Do you feel very unproductive? Do you need help finding a solution to this problem? 

In this fast-moving world, we are surrounded by sources of instant happiness. These are short living but very addictive. From social media reels to sugary treats and ever-changing fashion trends, everything is raising put dopamine satisfaction threshold.   

people addicted to social media

Dopamine detox can lead to a controlled, happy and focused life. It is a trending approach to neutralize the effect of social media and other addicting habits.

This ultimate guide will help you know everything about dopamine detox. You will learn its benefits, strategies, tips and tricks, and more. So, let’s get started!

What is Dopamine?


Our brain works by sending signals to our body through nerve cells. These signals or messages are sent in the form of chemicals. The chemical messengers released from one nerve cell activate the next nerve cell, and so the chain linkage continues.

These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter that is produced by our brain.

It is one of the most important chemical messengers of our nervous system. It is also known as the “feel-good hormone” and sometimes the “happy hormone.”

Why is dopamine one of the most important hormones? It is because it controls many emotions, moods, and behaviors of a human being.

Dopamine is released from the brain when your brain is expecting any reward. It produces a cycle of motivation, action, and reinforcement.


Consider, for example, if you were asked to get good grades, and in return, you were to be rewarded with your favorite fast food. Dopamine released from your brain moved you to work hard, focus and perform well in your test. 

So if you got your favorite fast food, you would have felt good. But if you did not get your favorite fast food, your dopamine level might have decreased or intensified, resulting in more cravings for the fast food.

This is how dopamine affects our behaviors and moods. It even makes us habitual and addicted to an action by getting rewarded repeatedly for it.

Along with these behavioral and emotional effects, dopamine also has effects on;

  • Pain processing

  • Digestion

  • Blood flow

  • Sleep

  • Stress response

  • Focus and memory 

  • Heart and kidney function

One thing which is needed to be kept in mind is that dopamine alone does not control all these actions. Instead works along with other chemical messengers [1, 2].

Rise of Dopamine-Driven Society

Dopamine-Driven Society

Dopamine-Driven means that our high dopamine levels are affecting our daily life actions and behaviors. As discussed earlier, the continuous release of dopamine makes us addicted to a specific action. This statement has several reasons to be true.

With the rise of digital media usage, everyone watches everyone having fun.

Particularly on social media platforms, sharing every adventure, party, etc., publicly has affected our behaviors, goals, and mood swings drastically. 

Studies [3] show that these digital technologies and platforms are made in ways to make the users want to use them more. To keep their users engaged, these platforms use persuasive strategies that activate dopamine release higher than usual.

Getting more likes and shares on our pictures or videos has made us doing and uploading more content on social media. Our continuous presence on social media keeps signaling more dopamine resulting in more intense actions.

Therefore, we as a society have become a “dopamine-driven society.” 

Signs and Symptoms of Dopamine Overload

Anger Issues

Right levels of dopamine usually help in keeping a good mood. It also optimises our focus, motivation, and alertness. However, high levels of dopamine can lead to dopamine accumulation in different parts of the brain and may lead to several issues like;

  • Obesity

  • Over-eating

  • Anxiety

  • Increased stress levels

  • Anger issues

  • Hyper-activity

  • Disturbed sleep cycle

It can also lead to a common disease known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

What will you do if you know you have high dopamine levels?

There are many ways to clear that dopamine from your brain. These are commonly called “Dopamine Detox.” 

Dopamine detox involves behavioral therapy that encourages self-analysis and regulation to check the release of excessive dopamine [4].

Benefits of Dopamine Detox

Digital Detox

Dopamine detox is also known as dopamine fasting. It involves avoiding activities that stimulate dopamine release from our brain. However, one should know that complete detox of dopamine is naturally impossible. It has many benefits;

Controlling the activities causing high levels of dopamine release, such as excessive scrolling on social media for hours, eating without control, being involved in some unproductive activities, etc., you can save a lot of time and put it into productive activities. 

By managing that time, you automatically start feeling good about yourself when you see your tasks appropriately done before time.

Moreover, you will have good control over your emotions, impulses, and mood swings [5].

Planning your Dopamine Detox

Since dopamine detox is a behavioral therapy, it involves your efforts and planning about how you will do it. If you plan on leaving undesirable habits, some tips will help you plan your dopamine fasting.

Before planning your detox, your goals should be clear for a better plan of action.

For example, you want dopamine fasting:

  • You are sick of using social media more than expected.
  • You can not help scrolling for hours.
  • You want to enjoy normal real-life activities like everyone else.
  • You want to be an interactive, confident, vision-oriented person.

Once your goals are clear, you can plan your detox according to your habits. You can either ask your psychologist to help you with it.

Let's see what tips our experts have to offer: 

Create your Boundaries

delete social media

When controlling yourself, you always start by creating certain boundaries. The same is the case with dopamine fasting. This can include:

  1. Putting the gadget or the addicting thing out of sight or reach.
  2. Making it difficult to reach.
  3. Uninstalling or blocking certain apps or websites.
  4. Giving your control to someone else.

Find a Motivation

finding a hobby

The human mind always works more efficiently when it has a motivational or rewarding situation. So it is better to find any motivation, whether it is a job, a hobby, or a shared-interest task.

It would be wrong to say that it is going to be easy. NO WAY! Change is always difficult. So be mentally prepared to face inner opposition doing the good.

Select Beneficial Alternatives

people playing with pets

Finding alternatives is the fundamental part of the detox. Consuming the time that you are wasting scrolling, drinking, eating, or watching movies or series is the goal. So you definitely have to use that time somewhere else. Some good alternatives can be:

  • Volunteering
  • Going for a walk in a park
  • Exercising
  • Painting/Sketching
  • Book reading 
  • Having a pet
  • Meditating  

Seek Guidance

medical examination

Dopamine detox is a special behavioral treatment and should be conducted by trained professionals.

This process involves hormonal variations in the body, and it may lead to very severe health conditions. A professional will guide you according to your condition and needs. Therefore, always seek an expert opinion before starting any health-related plans.

It is better to run towards something than to run away from it. The same is the case with dopamine detox. Instead of closing your eyes on your lazy, careless routines, try to sort things gradually by taking small steps [5].

Building a Dopamine-Healthy Lifestyle

Dopamine is body friendly hormone. It is necessary for a healthy, motivated, and focused life. Only excess or deficiency of it is bad. To maintain a balance, you have to make a dopamine-friendly lifestyle. It is a challenging task but not an impossible one.

Here we have discussed some handy ways to achieve a dopamine-healthy lifestyle.

Consume Tyrosine High Food

chocolates and almonds

Tyrosine is a building block of dopamine and can be easily found in almonds, bananas, eggs, fish, and dark chocolate.

Take High Protein and Low Carb Diet


Ketogenic diets are said to increase dopamine availability in the brain. Eating canned, processed, high-sugar foods leads to intense cravings, ultimately leading to being overweight.

Therefore, eating a healthy protein diet is also crucial to maintaining a healthy dopamine flow in the brain.

Make Physical Exercise a Routine

fitness training

Exercising daily increases dopamine levels slows the aging process of cells, and freshens up the mood. Hence you start feeling much better and more focused.


smiling asian woman meditating doing yoga on fresh air relaxing on rubber mat

Research [6] has shown that meditation increases dopamine levels by up to 65%. Meditating also clears your mind, and your thought process becomes diligent of present rather than past or future. 

Get a Massage


Massage therapies increase healthy dopamine levels by up to 30% and decrease stress hormones.

Listen to Calming Music

listening to music

You might have experienced that calming music releases happy hormones and halters stress-causing hormones, resulting in increased focus and concentration.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep-deficient people are constantly stressed and freaked out. They lack the energy to compete for a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is the recharging process of our mind and body. Therefore,  adequate sound sleep is very important for healthy hormone regulation [6].

Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness


Mindfulness, or Bare attention, is a crucial practice in overcoming depression and lost self-control. It is similar to meditation, in which a person stops his thinking process and focuses it on one ongoing task in the present time.

When discussing dopamine detox, mindfulness becomes an important key to overcoming your addictions.

When you focus on a single task at a time and do not let your emotions and cravings control you, your dopamine drives become less vicious, and you start to work more efficiently in life [7]. 

Overcoming Relapses and Maintaining Balance

Managing relapse is as essential as planning how to leave bad habits. There are always some trigger points that cause relapse. Once you find out what they are, it becomes easier to manage them.

Dopamine is the pleasure hormone. When a person runs on high dopamine, he/she starts prioritizing addictions over necessities. So you must go minus those triggers that lead you astray and ignore necessary tasks. 

This is not possible only with willpower. Some people need a helping hand, a counselor, or a professional psychologist to navigate them through the detox process. 

No matter how great your plan is, you are going to fall behind sometimes. There is no need to think that you failed. You just have to keep going. Just plan your day a little better every time you fall. You are going to make it happen one day! [8].

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to Dopamine detox?

Usually, healthy dopamine production depends upon multiple factors. According to many professionals, it takes around 90 days to get your dopamine levels back to normal (before dopamine overload) [9].

What is the fastest way to reset Dopamine?

There is generally NO fast way to reset your dopamine levels. It is a slow process involving behavioral, emotional, and psychological changes. Any shortcut to lower dopamine levels can lead to relapses and depression or even more significant health issues. However, some challenges claim to restore your dopamine levels to normal.

What is the 21 day Dopamine detox?

21-day dopamine detox is a challenge to overcome addictions, poor production, and procrastination. It is a challenge that involves multiple steps like planning, creating alternatives, etc. After completing this challenge, you can reset your system’s dopamine and take control of your life [10].

Is Dopamine detox good for ADHD?

Dopamine detox does work for ADHD, but the extent to which it works depends totally on how better you plan your detox. If you plan well, find healthier alternatives, figure out triggers and manage your time, and concentrate, Dopamine fast helps in treating ADHD [11]. 

What happens to the brain after Dopamine detox?

Dopamine detox does not affect your natural dopamine release. It is a practice to leave bad habits.

So ideally, at the end of a dopamine detox, dopamine accumulates in different parts of the brain, are consumed, and the brain works more efficiently and is focused [12].

What not to do on Dopamine detox?

Dopamine detox does not mean complete social isolation, not eating or drinking, or having other pleasures. It is about creating limitations and not exceeding them.

Many people misconceive detox as they have to leave everything that gives them happiness [5]. 


Dopamine is a healthy, happy hormone that is very important to focus, motivate, and be happy. However, when we start falling for dopamine-stimulating activities and get addicted to them, it gets worse. Dopamine Detox is a very helpful way to bring your life back on track. 

However, it should be done in a balanced way, with complete vigilant planning and under the supervision of a professional or expert psychologist. 

If a person succeeds in doing dopamine detox, he/she can have all the fun and motivation without losing self-control.


  1. What Is Dopamine? WebMD. Retrieved from, 
  1. How Does Dopamine Affect the Body? Healthline. Retrieved from, 
  1. Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time Harvard University. Retrieved from, 
  1. Dopamine Healthdirect. Retrieved from, 
  1. What is Dopamine Fasting? PsychCentral. Retrieved from, 
  1. 9 Natural Ways to Balance Dopamine in the Brain. AmenClinics. Retrieved from, 
  1. The Power of Mindfulness by Nyanaponika Thera. Retrieved from, 
  1. How Can You Avoid Relapse Triggers? The Dawn Rehab. Retrieved from, 
  1. How Long Does It Take for Brain Chemistry to Return to Normal? Palmetto Addiction Recovery Centre. Retrieved from,
  1. “Transform Your Life in Just 21 Days: The Ultimate Dopamine Detox Challenge”. Retrieved from, 
  1. Increasing Productivity: Trying a Dopamine Detox For Your ADHD. Community Health Network. Retrieved from, 
  1.  What to know about a dopamine detox. Medical News Today. Retrieved from, 

About the author 

A Medical Doctor with a rich experience for 5+ years in Medical Writing/Researching along with patient care. Collaborated with more than 10 companies, leveraging my skills to create high-quality content in various formats, including books, blog posts, articles, research papers, and social media medical content.

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