Does dopamine fasting work?

Looking to control some bad habits? A psychologist explains how dopamine fasting can help.

The temptation is always there

Dopamine fasting is the latest wellness trend in Silicon Valley. According to Dr. Cameron Sepah, it’s legit — if you do it right. Instead of trying to quit impulsive behaviors, he recommends stimulus control. Conferring to Sepah, these days it's extra difficult to mitigate compulsive behavior. Dopamine is a pleasure chemical released by the brain that plays a huge role in motivation and reward. If you indulge in a glass or two of wine, your brain begins to link that wine as a feel-good escape method. But over time, that reward is dulled, and it takes more to stoke it.

Dealing with addiction

“Even though dopamine fasting has the word dopamine in the title, the thing that we're fasting from is not from dopamine itself, but from behaviors that are essentially reinforced by dopamine. Well, specifically, it's not focused on reducing dopamine. That's one thing that's important to clarify. It's to reduce the amount of impulsive behaviors that people are engaging in. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that's in the brain that's associated with the anticipation of reward. I think most people can relate to the fact that addiction isn't just about alcohol or substances, but there are increasingly behavioral addictions that are quite common. So, that could be internet gaming, it could be shopping, gambling, it could be pornography, masturbation, it could be novelty, thrill-seeking”, Dr. Cameron Sepah tells Brut.

Temptation and the technology that enables addiction is so much more ubiquitous than it ever has been

While there’s currently no research looking specifically at the ‘mental boost of dopamine fasting,’ it’s based on a behavioral therapy technique called ‘stimulus control,’ which research has shown can help people with addictions by removing or restricting triggers, says Cameron Sepah, a clinical psychologist and professor at UCSF Medical School, who is widely credited with coining the term.


01/10/2020 12:57 PM


  • Kong P.
    04/29/2020 19:50


  • Katia M.
    01/31/2020 20:54


  • Nathan B.
    01/28/2020 03:40

    Annie Sager lets do this ❤️

  • Luis D.
    01/27/2020 21:55


  • Michael M.
    01/26/2020 11:40


  • Michael M.
    01/26/2020 11:40


  • Aaron P.
    01/26/2020 09:06

    It makes your next dopaminergic experience more potent giving you more intense pleasure in something that gives you pleasure. That's all.

  • Russ W.
    01/24/2020 20:18


  • Keri S.
    01/22/2020 03:22

    I a lot of what I have learned address that. I have thought about it a lot! I also have hacks. Our brains are still operating on default. That's why we seek it. The person who commented below has the exact opposite ideas I do. Self control is not the answer. Finding the thoughts driving the dopamine seeking behaviors is then processing the emotions you are avoiding by overeating or drinking or drugs or checking for FB likes.... It's an longer process but you mind drives behaviors not outside circumstances. Thoughts produce feelings - feelings drive actions. Actions to avoid feelings are sometimes the result.

  • Abbey G.
    01/22/2020 02:46

    kinda interesting topic to think about

  • Basim M.
    01/21/2020 15:49

    Shah Jan Dashti which u have hhh

  • Lanie D.
    01/20/2020 20:56

    might be something worth looking into

  • Ashutosh T.
    01/17/2020 03:36


  • David I.
    01/15/2020 17:03

    , sounds about right

  • Gabriel M.
    01/15/2020 05:31

    If you reduce dopamine....You have Parkinson's...

  • Gabriel M.
    01/15/2020 05:30

    Just smoke weed.....

  • Raman B.
    01/14/2020 23:09

    love this

  • Terri N.
    01/14/2020 14:50

    DEMON-CRATS want you in GOULAGS,

  • Jace C.
    01/13/2020 21:51

    Yes this is the best ❤

  • Caleb A.
    01/13/2020 17:08

    Self control. The word is self control. Instead of gambling or eating, drugs etc. you just tell yourself I’ve done a lot of that. I need to do that in a regulated way. That word is self control lol. Only people in Silicon Valley would think this idea is trendy

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