There are lot of videos on youtube like this which talk about dopamine detox for a week, month or so. Does it actually work? Don't we get distracted anymore or get less distracted? Is it necessary to give up on everything like even the favourite food along with other stuffs which you consider distracting?


1 Answer 1


A Google Scholar search for "dopamine detox" returns only one paper of any type mentioning the term, and it does not provide any specific citation for it as a procedure.

A Google Scholar search for "dopamine fast" returns about 80 results, but most seem to be false-positives (that is, they are not talking about a "dopamine fast" at all but yet happened to hit on those keywords). The ones that do hit seem to be simply opinion articles referencing a blog post and a self-help book rather than any scientific study.

The blog post (which I'd prefer not to link to avoid promoting it) mentions cognitive behavioral therapy and claims that the "dopamine fast" they promote is a form of CBT. CBT is a reputable therapy approach with scientific backing, but that doesn't mean that everyone who claims their approach is CBT has any scientific study supporting it (nor is CBT any sort of magic that works for everyone).

It seems like this concept of "dopamine detox" itself is a blog/self-help fad without specific scientific support. I cannot identify any study where someone has defined an intervention as "dopamine detox" or a "dopamine fast" and then studied its efficacy against some other treatment or placebo/control condition.

Seems to me like a new fad name that makes no scientific sense (you don't "eat" dopamine, after all, it's a neurotransmitter released in your brain normally all the time, and absolutely necessary for normal function - just read about the mechanisms of Parkinson's disease, for example) for something otherwise pretty obvious and noncontroversial: if you're being distracted by something, try removing the distractor.


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