Can Dopamine Fasting Help Low Dopamine? (Causes And Tips)

dopamine dopamine fasting

Welcome guys, this is going to be an interesting dopamine series in 2 parts.

In the first part we are going to look at some of the most common causes of low dopamine levels, and we are going to look at  the symptoms of low dopamine levels. As in, what happens if your levels are low?

Is it even possible to have a good life then?

In part two we will of course look at some smart and interesting ways to raise your dopamine levels,  if you think you might be having issues with that.

Let’s start by looking at some of the most common symptoms of low dopamine level. But before we begin, I need to point out that the brain is a complex organ where balance is the key.

This means that some of these symptoms may actually also be the same if dopamine is too high. So you need to look at the big picture and you need to recognize several of the symptoms before drawing any conclusions, really.

Symptoms of low dopamine levels...

  • Low energy
  • Inability to focus
  • Anxiety and social anxiety (watch out here because some people can also get anxiety from dopamine levels that are too high)
  • Concentration problems
  • Fatigue (I apologize for my pronunciation, this is an older video where my English was even worse than what it is today ;)  )
  • Tendency to become easily addicted (this is also true for people with high levels of dopamine, so again, we can’t draw any conclusions if just one symptom matches)
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling guilt-ridden
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest in life
  • Tremors and or muscles spasms
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low sex-drive
  • Trouble sleeping (and here again the same symptom can be found in people with too much dopamine).
  • Poor memory, and we are talking mostly short term memory here
  • Low motivation and drive

Now, perhaps the most common one is low motivation and drive, and listen up here, if you remember only one thing from this video then it should be this…

Dopamine is not really the "pleasure chemical"...

Dopamine is the very motivation and drive neurotransmitter.

It is often wrongly called something like “the pleasure molecule”.

This is see, in the brain dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter and it is not really about pleasure.

Dopamine is more about the anticipation of reward...

Even though dopamine release feels kind of good when it happens, dopamine is more about the anticipation of reward or pleasure.

When we understand this, we also understand why it is the key player in motivation and drive. It’s there to make us go after the reward.

Low dopamine = low motivation and drive...

So that’s why low dopamine = low motivation. 

We have basically no drive to go after the things that we know would lead to a reward later on. 

And  with this in mind you also understand why the title of this video is fix low dopamine AND win at life, because if we can get so much more motivation and drive and a stronger “go after it attitude” by rebalancing the brain then, well...

...needless to say, that is the core engine for achieving things in life. 

 Do we really need motivation, though?

And so now some people say, "We can achieve things without motivation!"... and your right your right, it can be done by sheer self-discipline alone.

In fact, we won’t always have motivation and a strong drive even with a healthy functioning dopamine system.

But it will help us so much, as drive and motivation are such powerful allies that we really want to have those two on our side, as we keep walking on our road to success in life.

With more drive and energy, everything in life gets easier and more fun as well.

When they depleted dopamine from rats - this happened...

Alright, now, so check this out,...

In a study on rats where they depleted the rat brain of all dopamine, the rat would starve to death, even if he had a plate of food just a few inches in front of him!

This is because without dopamine the rat had ZERO motivation to go after the reward.

He ate the food if they put it in his mouth, and he enjoyed it then because of other brain chemicals, but because his dopamine was totally gone, he lost all his motivation.

Can dopamine drop to zero?

Now, don’t worry, even if you have low dopamine, your levels won’t drop down to zero, like they did for the rat.

But I shared this because it’s good to understand how it works.

Let’s look at another common thing that happens for a lot of people with low dopamine levels.

Low dopamine means a higher risk of developing addictions...

People with low dopamine have a higher tendency to become addicted.

Because of the low mood, and lack of interest in life, people with low dopamine often seek out things that give a temporary boost in dopamine...

..things like...

  • Alcohol
  • Online pornography
  • Sugar
  • Cigarettes
  • Gambling
  • Etc. etc. etc.... now some of you may be saying...

..."But hey Bob, you just told us that low dopamine means no motivation, the rat didn’t even go for food"!?!

Yeah, that’s true, but the rat was depleted of all (or most of his) dopamine.

Even if you have low levels you still have some motivation - and your brain knows that those three donuts you are going after will temporarily spike your dopamine. 

So it sees it as a cure...

..however it is not a cure!

Instead those kinds of behaviors are often a fast track to addiction, and addiction makes the reward center even more dopamine depleted over time. 

Low dopamine can get us stuck in a negative spiral...

This is the cycle...

We have low dopamine with little interest in life, so we go after short term, instant gratifications....

That gives us a temporary dopamine spike - and a moment of pleasure with feelings like, hey, maybe life is worth something after all!?!

And this is why we are at risk for developing an addiction. If that happens, the result will be even lower dopamine levels in the long run.

Talk about a negative spiral!

This is why I so often say to my viewers that they should be careful about using dopamine spiking behaviors as a coping strategy or as escapism - because it will often come back and bite you. 

Causes of low dopamine levels...

So let’s move on to the causes of low dopamine levels...

Well, we just talked about one of the biggest ones; addiction!

If you have an addiction you will suffer from low dopamine.

It’s ironic that the low dopamine brain goes after some instant gratification in order to spike the dopamine levels, but then in the end the "cure" becomes the cause. 

Fapping to porn can also cause low dopamine levels...

Or one of the causes, because the brain had low levels to begin with. But you need to know this as I know many of you are addicted to online adult entertainment, for example.

And don’t expect to get rid of all those low dopamine symptoms if you don’t stop fapping your brains out in front of the laptop (to excess).

Oftentimes, the low levels even lead to several addictions, precisely because the brain is so desperately looking for some fast way to “fix the low levels”..., if you recognize yourself in this, be careful with instant gratification. 

 After you quit an addiction it will take some time for the brain to rebalance...

You should also keep in mind that when you decided to quit an addiction, it will take time before the dopamine system rebalances.

And many people feel even worse for a few weeks after quitting, because of the withdrawals, but the dopamine levels will slowly start to come back up after a few week so be patient.

Some other common causes of low dopamine levels are...

  • Long term stress
  • Lack of sleep 
  • A bad diet, giving you certain deficiencies, which I’m going to go in to more detail about in part two
  • Genes (some people are unfortunately just born with something called reward deficiency syndrome, but this does not mean there is nothing you can do about it)
  • Type 2 diabetes can lead to low dopamine levels…
  • And even just constant sharp spikes and crashes in your blood sugar
  • Adrenal fatigue  
  • Coffee (ups and downs)
  • Depression, (depression causes low dopamine and low dopamine causes depression. So it can be a bit tricky figuring out what came first here, but it’s important that you know about and try to find ways to take good care of yourself).
  • Leaky gut and a bad digestive system…

Alright, I hope this has been informative, and just from what we talked about today I’m sure you already  thought about a few things you can do to rebalance your dopamine system.

How to rebalance your dopamine system...

However we are going to talk about some really interesting and smart ways to raise your dopamine levels in video number 2!

And in order to not make this one too long I will continue in part 2...

Thanks for reading.

See you over there, you can find part 2 right here...

-Scandinavian Bob-

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