Dopamine Overload 

Staff Writer: Gia Gunderman 

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter molecule that plays several important roles in the cells; also known as the reward system. Dopamine is commonly known as the “happy hormone”, it comes from the feeling of achievement, satisfaction, motivation, etc. While it may be achieved in a healthy natural way, it can actually be very harmful in the long run. While dopamine is a neurological effect, it can still become an addiction surprisingly; commonly called “Dopamine Addiction”. 

Source: Dystonia Medical Research Foundation 

What is dopamine addiction? This hidden addiction is the constant search for something that will reward you in a way to release that happy hormone. Many of us today unknowingly do this every single day by doing what we call everyday activities. While being asked if he knew what dopamine overload is, Raymond Clark answers, “I’ve heard of it but never did any research, but when I compared my screen time to others, I saw mine was much higher than others, and it raised some concerns for me.”  Some of these activities could be constant scrolling on your phone, using social media almost as a scapegoat of reality. There is new content always being posted on social media, it’s practically endless yet it keeps us locked in, giving us that instant gratification that can release that hormone. This may not be as bad as it sounds, however, having this instant gratification with a single swipe, and doing it as a normal routine, can lead many people to not be able to do any other activities that may be considered “boring”.  

Other examples are constantly listening to music during everyday activities, eating many unhealthy foods or an abundance of food because it gives us that relaxation and happy feeling; it goes as far as people eating when bored and replace that boredom with hunger, being able to cause future eating disorders and lack of control. A lady walking the streets of downtown Woodstock, Norma Trevino says, “I try to take a few hours of my day to walk, read, or watching the clouds in order to take time away from my phone so I don’t feel that I’ve wasted my day away.” Taking a step away from our phone, laptop, gaming console or pc, can make us bored in the snap of a finger, reason being is because being on those things creates a habit of wanting and needing to be on our electronic devices. 

This also raises a question of “what do people even do?” Taking a step away from your phone makes you almost realize that you don’t have any other hobbies because you’ve become addicted to that instant gratification and would rather be on your phone instead of taking the time to be by yourself or practicing a new skill or hobby. Being this reserved can make a person more anxious, sleep deprived, lonely, or even feel more depressed. With how many skills or hobbies are out there these days, there really is no excuse to not get into them or at least try, but it is common for some people to commit to a hobby, accomplish it, and then hop right back on the closest device; which is completely normal at first when you are trying to stay away from your devices, take your time, stay committed, stay focused, and it should be able to become easier and easier as time passes by.  

Source: Science in the News 

This article isn’t to force you to stay away from your phone and to tell you that all content is bad for you, but it’s to inform you of the dangers it could create and to set a boundary with the things we have available at the tip of our fingers. Try to take one day to yourself, away from your devices and anything that could influence you to go back on, do something else that could give you that dopamine effect or try something new, and see test how different you feel when you’re productive, rather than just being on your phone all day. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: