Help- dopamine overdose/moderate-serious symptoms

For a while now in particular with the lockdowns I'd feel compelled to go on the internet, youtube, games, RVF/blogs, and lapsing on porn much more than usual.

In the past couple days my symptoms have gotten more severe. I'd always had "badfeels" of mainly boredom/listlessness that the above activities did a quick fix. Without stimulation I'd often feel a "burn" in my head which I'd associated with stress. But usually going out of my way to do chores like grocery shopping or showering or cooking or doing workouts were satisfying/fulfilling, maybe not in the moment, but for a few hours afterward. Then I felt normal and productive. If I had "too much" internet/stimulation I could always count on waiting until the next day when after I woke I'd feel good 30 mins-1hr in. So I associated the "too much" stimulation feeling with "tiredness".

Now, napping or sleeping doesn't solve the problem. Chores feel like a huge drag and don't feel satisfying after completion and instead of the satisfying feelings of accomplishment I now have a headspinning feeling. I've been working out and exercising but feel dopamine withdrawal(or whatever is a more accurate term) actually reduces my ability to physically move to some degree, so how long/far I can walk/longboard or how many pushups I can do is slightly affected. I don't even want to eat anymore without forcing myself to which is kind of scary. I've never really liked eating in general but I almost always easily had the "motivation" to do it. I've always felt jittery and gotten bored easily but this now becomes the primary, sometimes only, thing I think/feel. I have felt some joy and laughed genuinely, but it comes secondary to the jitteriness or the headspinning.

I don't even know what to do. I've heard of a thing called a Dopamine Detox but I think I'd be driven crazy not going on the internet or even limiting it to any significant degree. At the same time I'm realising this can't go on and trying to balance stimulation isn't working.

By serious it's probably nothing that would affect my long term health but I feel my life/control over my life slipping away.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
But for how long? What exactly do I do/cut out? How can I live with the boredom without going crazy?
Seems like you are very deep into screen addiction. When I was having problems with alcohol I had to do a clean cut - not moderate it, but just not drink for two years. That's the only thing that worked. When I restarted, I could be moderate again. It might not take that long in your situation, or maybe it will.

So turn off the computer (hide if needed) and same for smartphone, to the extent that you can. If you can't (because you work with your computer or phone) than set very specific times for being on it, and when outside of those times, don't do it. It's specially important to not look at screens at least a couple of hours before you go to sleep. It will solve your sleep problem.

As for dealing with boredom, you need to replace the time you spend on screens with better habits. For me it's reading and gardening.

What brought me back from being on the internet all the time and watching videos and movies and shows all the time was getting a bonsai and taking care of it. It was from there that I got into gardening more and more. I find that just having contact with something natural, as opposed to man-made, is good. The peace you will get from being around and interacting with nature will also aid in your relationship with God. If you have even a little space you can grow something that can save you some money at the store, even if it's just herbs.
 

Batman_

Kingfisher
The "dopamine detox" imo goes way overboard. The human brain is way too complex to try to "hack it" with such a strategy, and the cold turkey/willpower approach is extremely ineffective in practice.

Though I think it has the right idea - the end goal should be cutting out supranormal stimulation to varying degrees (social media, porn, video games, drugs, junk food, etc) and regaining our ability to experience natural rewards from stimuli that don't constantly spike our dopaminergic systems.

I don't think you can expect to just change all of this overnight. There are many habits associated with in our modern lifetyles that lead to sensory/stimulation overloads. It takes a lot of work, and you have to take it one step at a time, because it's a complex issue.

For me, my main philosophy is to learn how to be comfortable with boredom. Lower the bar for the amount of stimulation you need day by day. Some things you may need to cut immediately and indefinitely (porn), but don't try to quit everything else all at once. It's still hard, but over time you'll make real progress.
 
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But for how long? What exactly do I do/cut out? How can I live with the boredom without going crazy?
This isn’t Chinese water torture, you’re only taking a break from dopamine so you can refresh you receptors. Boredom will end up being the least of your problems if you don’t get this sorted.
If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s the best place to start. Have fun. Psych.
 

Zep

Kingfisher
For a while now in particular with the lockdowns I'd feel compelled to go on the internet, youtube, games, RVF/blogs, and lapsing on porn much more than usual.

In the past couple days my symptoms have gotten more severe. I'd always had "badfeels" of mainly boredom/listlessness that the above activities did a quick fix. Without stimulation I'd often feel a "burn" in my head which I'd associated with stress. But usually going out of my way to do chores like grocery shopping or showering or cooking or doing workouts were satisfying/fulfilling, maybe not in the moment, but for a few hours afterward. Then I felt normal and productive. If I had "too much" internet/stimulation I could always count on waiting until the next day when after I woke I'd feel good 30 mins-1hr in. So I associated the "too much" stimulation feeling with "tiredness".

Now, napping or sleeping doesn't solve the problem. Chores feel like a huge drag and don't feel satisfying after completion and instead of the satisfying feelings of accomplishment I now have a headspinning feeling. I've been working out and exercising but feel dopamine withdrawal(or whatever is a more accurate term) actually reduces my ability to physically move to some degree, so how long/far I can walk/longboard or how many pushups I can do is slightly affected. I don't even want to eat anymore without forcing myself to which is kind of scary. I've never really liked eating in general but I almost always easily had the "motivation" to do it. I've always felt jittery and gotten bored easily but this now becomes the primary, sometimes only, thing I think/feel. I have felt some joy and laughed genuinely, but it comes secondary to the jitteriness or the headspinning.

I don't even know what to do. I've heard of a thing called a Dopamine Detox but I think I'd be driven crazy not going on the internet or even limiting it to any significant degree. At the same time I'm realising this can't go on and trying to balance stimulation isn't working.

By serious it's probably nothing that would affect my long term health but I feel my life/control over my life slipping away.
The headspinning and growing lack of motivation seems like classic depression/anxiety. I would guess many people are going through this because of the lockdowns. In a sense, the world as we knew has stopped. Just like that ... no one asked me, or you, or any of us, if we voted for this. How powerless does this make you feel? My world, and your world, as we knew it, just got stopped. This is a big deal. Maybe attaching yourself to a spiritual world is the only hope at this point. Religion seems to be working for the other members in here, so why not give it a shot.
 
Cut out stims, namely coffee. Get yourself set on the right sleep schedule. Meditate once in the morning and once in the evening. Meditation can be key some days. After a quality 20 min sesh sometimes it will change what is feeling like the start of an "off" day into an "on" day. Meditation will teach you to pull back from these ideas of boredom and inner mental afflictions, and just relax and be. Which ironically sets you in a path to get stuff done.

Take walks, rides, or runs without music. Just go do it and ease into your pace that feels right.

Have a hard time cutoff for screens and have a quality fiction book to pick up in the evening.

No quick bumps like alcohol or tobacco.

A day in and out routine like this will reinforce more simple mental pathways, not the ones that led to the short reward cycle that these easy dopamine activities allow.
 

Batman_

Kingfisher
Cut out stims, namely coffee. Get yourself set on the right sleep schedule. Meditate once in the morning and once in the evening. Meditation can be key some days. After a quality 20 min sesh sometimes it will change what is feeling like the start of an "off" day into an "on" day. Meditation will teach you to pull back from these ideas of boredom and inner mental afflictions, and just relax and be. Which ironically sets you in a path to get stuff done.

Take walks, rides, or runs without music. Just go do it and ease into your pace that feels right.

Have a hard time cutoff for screens and have a quality fiction book to pick up in the evening.

No quick bumps like alcohol or tobacco.

A day in and out routine like this will reinforce more simple mental pathways, not the ones that led to the short reward cycle that these easy dopamine activities allow.
One thing too that a lot of people don't think about is multitasking. They "work" while podcasts, movies, youtube, etc are playing in the background. Watch movies/shows while scrolling through social media on their phone. They don't enjoy their work, they don't enjoy their leisure, they constantly are looking ahead to the next thing, their attention increasingly fragmented.

Some people can claim to do both, but there it's been proven that the human mind cannot truly multitask in the way they think.

At the end of the day people hate being alone with their thoughts, and instead rely on constant little squirts of dopamine to distract them from their misery.
 
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pitbullowner

Pelican
One thing too that a lot of people don't think about is multitasking. They "work" while podcasts, movies, youtube, etc are playing in the background. Watch movies/shows while scrolling through social media on their phone. They don't enjoy their work, they don't enjoy their leisure, they constantly are looking ahead to the next thing, their attention increasingly fragmented.

Some people can claim to do both, but there it's been proven that the human mind cannot truly multitask in the way they think.

At the end of the day people hate being alone with their thoughts, and instead rely on constant little squirts of dopamine to distract them from their misery.

I have to be left alone with my thoughts so I can pray about and sort them...too much external stimulation I go nuts
 

Speculation

Kingfisher
I gave up videogames recently because I was pretty sure it had led to some sort of dopamine dysregulation when I'd play a high intensity game for a couple of hours.

After quitting, I found it much easier to concentrate on my work and felt much more emotionally stable. Now I'm working to cut down on screens in general and substitute healthier activities.

I really believe that high doses of the super-stimulants available in a modern lifestyle can throw off people's brain chemistries, and chronic hyper-stimulation is a hidden cause of the anxiety and depression that plagues modern man.
 

andy dufresne

Woodpecker
You've probably recovered but here are some ideas that have helped me screen/internet detox:

- Turn your all your screens/smartphones to black and white mode. You'll be amazed at how unsexy and practical they become.
- Get a light timer from a hardware store and plug it into your router. Set it up so your internet connection only works part time.
- Attempt to find something inside you that gives you peace. God/Nature/prayer
- Experiment with fasting. I've found that quitting all food/drinks/calories for a few days really creates a sense of inner peace. It's a bitch to do though
- Thinking about who actually makes porn and how it is a complete soul suck made me quit cold turkey a few years back. Never again.
 
Cal Newport (Author of Deep Work and Digital Minimalism) has a new podcast. I recommend you to listen to (at least) the first part of this episode:

Improving Concentration, [...]

What you have to do is very well presented and justified there.

You've probably recovered but here are some ideas that have helped me screen/internet detox:

- Turn your all your screens/smartphones to black and white mode. You'll be amazed at how unsexy and practical they become.
- Get a light timer from a hardware store and plug it into your router. Set it up so your internet connection only works part time.
- Attempt to find something inside you that gives you peace. God/Nature/prayer
- Experiment with fasting. I've found that quitting all food/drinks/calories for a few days really creates a sense of inner peace. It's a bitch to do though
- Thinking about who actually makes porn and how it is a complete soul suck made me quit cold turkey a few years back. Never again.
What sources of information do you recommend for educating myself on this topic? I already know Libido Dominandi is a must read for me.
 
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