'Anti-dopamine parenting' can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets (2024)

Dopamine is part of an ancient neural pathway that ensures human survival. It is also part of the reason it is so hard to stop playing a video game or pass up a cupcake. Meredith Miotke /for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Meredith Miotke /for NPR

'Anti-dopamine parenting' can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets (2)

Dopamine is part of an ancient neural pathway that ensures human survival. It is also part of the reason it is so hard to stop playing a video game or pass up a cupcake.

Meredith Miotke /for NPR

Back when my daughter was a toddler, I would make a joke about my phone: "It's a drug for her," I'd say to my husband. "You can't even show it to her without causing a tantrum."

She had the same reaction to cupcakes and ice cream at birthday parties. And as she grew older, another craving set in: cartoons on my computer.

Every night, when it was time to turn off the screen and get ready for bed, I would hear an endless stream of "But Mamas." "But Mama, just five more minutes. But Mama, after this one show ... but Mama ... but Mama ... but Mama."

Given these intense reactions to screens and sweets, I assumed that my daughter loves them. Like, really loves them. I assumed that they brought her immense joy and pleasure. And thus, I felt really guilty about taking these pleasures away from her. (To be honest, I feel the same way about my own "addictions," like checking social media and email more than a hundred times a day. I do that because they give me pleasure, right?)

But what if those assumptions are wrong? What if my daughter's reactions aren't a sign of loving the activity or the food? And that, in fact, over time she may even come to dislike these activities despite her pleas to continue?

In the past few years, neuroscientists have started to better understand what's going on in kids' brains (and adult brains, too) while they're streaming cartoons, playing video games, scrolling through social media, and eating rich, sugar-laden foods. And that understanding offers powerful insights into how parents can better manage and limit these activities. Personally, I call the strategy "anti-dopamine parenting" because the ideas come from learning how to counter a tiny, powerful molecule that's essential to nearly everything we do.

Turns out, smartphones and sugary foods do have something in common with drugs: They trigger surges of a neurotransmitter deep inside your brain called dopamine. Although drugs cause much bigger spikes of dopamine than, say, social media or an ice cream cone, these smaller spikes still influence our behavior, especially in the long run. They shape our habits, our diets, our mental health and how we spend our free time. They can also cause much conflict between parents and children.

This is your child's brain on cartoons (or video games or cupcakes)

Dopamine is a part of an ancient neural pathway that's critical for keeping us alive. "These mechanisms evolved in our brain to draw us to things that are essential to our survival. So water, safety, social interactions, sex, food," says neuroscientist Anne-Noël Samaha at the University of Montreal.

For decades, scientists thought dopamine drew us to these vital needs by providing us with something that's not as critical: pleasure.

"There's this idea, especially in the popular media, that dopamine increases pleasure. That, when dopamine levels increase, you feel the sensation of 'liking' whatever you're doing and savoring this pleasure," Samaha says. Pop psychology has dubbed dopamine the "molecule of happiness."

But over the past decade, research indicates dopamine does not make you feel happy. "In fact, there's a lot of data to refute the idea that dopamine is mediating pleasure," says Samaha.

Shots - Health News

The truth about teens, social media and the mental health crisis

Instead, studies now show that dopamine primarily generates another feeling: desire. "Dopamine makes you want things," Samaha says. A surge of dopamine in your brain makes you seek out something, she explains. Or continue doing what you're doing. It's all about motivation.

And it goes even further: Dopamine tells your brain to pay particular attention to whatever triggers the surge.

It's alerting you to something important, Samaha says. "So you should stay here, close to this thing, because there's something here for you to learn. That's what dopamine does."

And here's the surprising part: You might not even like the activity that triggers the dopamine surge. It might not be pleasurable. "That's relatively irrelevant to dopamine," Samaha says.

In fact, studies show that over time, people can end up not liking the activities that trigger big surges in dopamine. "If you talk to people who spend a lot of time shopping online or, going through social media, they don't necessarily feel good after doing it," Samaha says. "In fact, there's a lot of evidence that it's quite the opposite, that you end up feeling worse after than before."

"A hijacked neural pathway"

What does this all mean for your kids? Say my daughter, who's now 7 years old, is watching cartoons after dinner. While she's staring into the technicolor images, her brain experiences spikes in dopamine, over and over again. Those spikes keep her watching (even if she's actually really tired and wants to go to bed).

Then I come into the room and say, "Time's up, Rosy. Close the app and get ready for bed." And although I'm ready for Rosy to quit watching, her brain isn't. It's telling her the opposite.

"The dopamine levels are still high," Samaha explains. "And what does dopamine do? It tells you something important is happening, and there's a need somewhere that you have to answer."

And what am I doing? I'm preventing her from fulfilling this need, which her brain may elevate as being critical to her survival. In other words, a neural pathway made to ensure humans go seek out water when they're thirsty is now being used to keep my 7-year-old watching yet another episode of a cartoon.

Not finishing this "critical" task can be incredibly frustrating for a kid, Samaha says, and "an agitation arises." The child may feel irritated, restless, possibly enraged.

Because the spike in dopamine holds a child's attention so strongly, parents are setting themselves up for a fight when they try to get them to do any other activity that triggers smaller spikes, such as helping parents clean up after dinner, finishing homework or playing outside.

"So I tell parents, 'It's not you versus your child, but rather it's you versus a hijacked neural pathway. It's the dopamine you're fighting. And that's not a fair fight,'" says Emily Cherkin, who spent more than a decade teaching middle school and now coaches parents about screens.

This response can happen to children at any age, even toddlers, says Dr. Anna Lembke, who's a psychiatrist at Stanford University and author of the book Dopamine Nation. "Absolutely. This happens at the earliest ages. So screens and sweets are, in and of themselves, alluring and potentially intoxicating."

Armed with this knowledge, parents have more power to reduce the stress and negative consequences of these dopamine-surging activities. Here are some strategies to do that.

Tip 1: Wait 5 minutes

Dopamine surges are potent, says neuroscientist Kent Berridge at the University of Michigan, but they are fast. "They have a short half-life," he says.

"If you take away the cue [triggering the dopamine] and you can wait two to five minutes, a lot of the urge usually goes away," says Berridge, who's been instrumental in deciphering dopamine's role in the brain.

In other words, when you stop the cartoons at 30 minutes or cut off the cake at one slice, you may hear a bunch of whining, protest and tears, but that reaction will likely be brief.

But here's the key. You have to put the dopamine trigger out of sight, says Lembke at Stanford. Because seeing the laptop or extra leftover cake can start the cycle of wanting over again.

Tip 2: Look for the "Goldilocks" activities

Of course, not all of these activities and foods will be as enticing or intoxicating to every child, Lembke explains. "Our brains are all wired a little bit differently from one individual to the next."

And remember, dopamine motivates children to act and stay focused. The key, she says, is to figure out which activities give your child the right amount of dopamine. Not too little and not too much — the Goldilocks amount. And to do that, she says, pay attention to how your kid feels after the activity stops.

"If the child feels even better after the activity, that means we're getting a healthy source of dopamine," Lembke says. Not too little. But also not too much. And there's low risk the activity will become problematic for the child.

For example, my daughter doesn't have (much of) a problem turning off audiobooks or putting away art projects. Same goes for video-calling with friends, coloring, reading and, of course, playing outside with friends. These activities make her behavior better afterward, not worse.

What about the opposite — when a child feels worse after an activity or snack, and their behavior declines? Then, Lembke says, there's a high risk that the activity could hook the child into a compulsive loop. "Once they start engaging often and for long periods of time, they may really lose control," she explains.

"People have this idea that, 'Oh, well, if I let my kid play as many video games as they want or be on social media as much as they want, they'll get tired of it.' And in fact, the opposite happens," Lembke says.

Research indicates that over time, some people's brains can actually become more sensitive to the dopamine triggered by a particular activity. And therefore, the more time a person spends engaged with this activity, the more they may crave it — even if the activity becomes unpleasurable.

So, Lembke says, parents really need to be careful and thoughtful with these activities. They need to limit the frequency and duration.

Which brings us to ...

Tip 3: Make microenvironments

Create places in your home where the child can't access or see problematic devices, Lembke recommends. For example, have only one room in the house where children can use the phone or tablet. Keep these devices out of bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room and the car.

At the same time, create times in your schedule where the child cannot see or access this device. Narrow down usage to only a small time each day, if possible. Or take a weekly "tech Sabbath," where everyone in the family takes a 24-hour break from their phones and tablets.

Shots - Health News

Smartphone Detox: How To Power Down In A Wired World

And for problematic foods, keep them out of the house. For example, the family eats ice cream only on special trips to the ice cream parlor.

Lembke calls these "microenvironments" — both physical and chronological. And they can have profound power over our brains, she says. "It's amazing how when we know we can't go on a device, the craving goes away."

Because here's the tricky aspect of dopamine: Our brains can start to predict when dopamine spikes are imminent, Lembke explains. We identify signals in the environment that point to it. These environmental cues can actually trigger a surge of dopamine in the brain before the child even begins eating or using a screen. These spikes can be larger than the ones experienced during the activity.

For a child, a signal could be a tablet sitting on a shelf, walking into the living room where they usually use a device, or even simply the time of day.

These environmental signals can make it tough, even painful, for kids to start breaking their habits, Lembke says. But that pain usually dissipates in a few days or weeks. Give children time to adjust.

Tip 4: Try a habit makeover

Instead of cutting out an activity altogether, look for a version that's more purposeful, says neuroscientist Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy at Northwestern University.

Kozorovitskiy, who has two tween boys, ages 11 and 12, says prohibiting video games altogether isn't realistic for her family. But she does think carefully about which games they're playing. "They will sometimes want to play this adventure game that's really complex and cognitively wonderful," she explains. "It requires exploration, discovery and strategy. And they play it together, physically. They're speaking about strategy, exchanging plans and using advanced social and language skills."

I tried this strategy with my daughter. One night we switched the cartoons for a language learning app. I told her that having an activity that's more purposeful will actually be more pleasurable.

And yes, she expressed great disappointment in this swap out, with tears and "But Mamas." But I stayed strong and calm, and I waited. After a few minutes, just as Kent Berridge said, the craving seemed to pass even more quickly than I expected. She easily switched gears to learning a bit of Spanish each night — with very little fuss.

Goats and Soda

I got 15 mail-order chicks. They ended up changing my life

I also started to put in place a piece of advice I heard from all the experts: Enrich your child's life off the screens. We had a neighbor teach her how to crochet. As a family, we started going for more walks after dinner. We bought a new pet (or actually 15 new pets) for her to take care of. And we started having more friends over on the weekends.

And guess what happened? After using the language app for a few weeks, she lost interest in the screens altogether. She hasn't watched a cartoon since.

But I'll tell you this: I will think very carefully before introducing a new app, device or even a new dessert into our lives. The battle against dopamine is just too hard for me to fight.

Jane Greenhalgh edited the radio story; Diane Webber edited the digital story.

'Anti-dopamine parenting' can curb a kid's craving for screens or sweets (2024)


Does screen time affect dopamine? ›

Screen use releases dopamine in the brain, which can negatively affect impulse control. Dr. Lorenz says studies have shown screen time affects the frontal cortex of the brain, similar to the effect of cocaine. Similar to drugs, screen time sets off a pleasure/reward cycle that can have a negative impact of your life.

How do you help kids who want control? ›

Here are some things you can do instead:
  1. 1) Disengage from the power struggles with choice. Power struggles, by definition, require two parties to fight for control. ...
  2. 2) Let natural and logical consequences be their teacher. ...
  3. 3) Remain calm. ...
  4. 4) Be proactive. ...
  5. 5) Give him things to control. ...
  6. 6) Take care of yourself.
Apr 3, 2022

How do you make a child feel like they are in control? ›

Here's how to empower your kids:
  1. Ask for help. Like parents, kids need to feel useful and needed. ...
  2. Offer a limited choice. Let them pick one of two choices: You may _____ or you may _____. ...
  3. Let your kid pick when something is done. ...
  4. Create routines with your child. ...
  5. Work together for solutions.
Jun 11, 2018

How do you control an out of control child? ›

So what can you do to help your child who is currently “out of control”?
  1. Use Emotion Coaching. Use an “Emotion Coaching” or problem solving approach with your child when there is a big emotion or behavior. ...
  2. Give your child a break. Give your child a break! ...
  3. Play games. ...
  4. Do as you want them to do.

How do you release dopamine in children? ›

A child naturally wants to move around when their level of dopamine gets low because it is increased during exercise and movement. Food also raises dopamine levels in the brain so these kids will often reach for a snack when it drops too low.

How does dopamine affect children? ›

If your child's body has the right amount of dopamine, they're more likely to feel happy, alert, focused, and motivated. If they have too little of it, they might feel unmotivated, sad, and sleepy. It can also cause mood swings, memory loss, sleep issues, or concentration problems.

How controlling parents affect children's mental health? ›

The psychological effects of controlling parenting can have negative, long-lasting impacts on emotional well-being and mental health. Studies indicate that children and adults can experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, and elevated stress.

What are the signs of a controlling child? ›

In general, these are things you may see with kids who desire control…
  • A child has a seemingly dominant and controlling personality.
  • They resist being told what to do all the time.
  • They resort to being physically mean or picking on others.
  • They are often labeled them as “bad” “naughty” “mean” or “bossy.”

How do you parent a child with no impulse control? ›

  1. Impulse Control Techniques That Work for. Children. ...
  2. Teach Your Child to Label Feelings. ...
  3. Ask Your Child to Repeat the Directions. ...
  4. Teach Problem-Solving Skills. ...
  5. Teach Anger Management Skills. ...
  6. Establish Household Rules. ...
  7. Provide Structure and Be Consistent. ...
  8. Practice Delayed Gratification.

What are the signs that a child is emotionally out of control? ›

Signs of emotional dysregulation in kids include:
  • Intense, out-of-control outbursts of anger.
  • Severe feelings of frustration.
  • Trouble dealing with disappointment.
  • Frequent crying.
  • Frequent negative moods.
Dec 16, 2022

What is the circle of control for kids? ›

What is a Circle of Control? A Circle of Control is a tool used with both children and adults to discuss and reflect on things within our daily lives that are both in our control and out of our control.

What causes lack of self-control in children? ›

Several factors can influence a child's lack of impulse control, from immaturity, lack of sleep, and stress to more serious issues like ADHD, multiple impulse control disorders, and various mental illnesses and mood disorders.

What is depleted mother syndrome? ›

What is Depleted Mother Syndrome (DMS)? In a nutshell, Depleted Mother Syndrome (DMS) occurs when demands on the mother increase, and her resources decrease. As a result of this imbalance, the mother's emotional sensitivity to both internal, and external triggers becomes heightened.

How do you discipline a child with ADHD? ›

1 These discipline strategies can be instrumental in helping a child with challenging behaviors to follow the rules.
  1. Provide Positive Attention. ...
  2. Give Effective Instructions. ...
  3. Praise Your Child's Effort. ...
  4. Use Time-Out When Necessary. ...
  5. Ignore Mild Misbehaviors. ...
  6. Allow for Natural Consequences. ...
  7. Establish a Reward System.

What is anxious parent angry child syndrome? ›

Overparenting refers to unnecessary corrective, cautionary or disciplinary comments made by parents to kids. Adults who overparent usually do it repeatedly and overparenting has predictable, negative effects on children. The negative reaction is what we call the "Anxious Parent, Angry Child" syndrome.

What are the symptoms of low dopamine in children? ›

Problems with anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, forgetfulness, impulsiveness and lack of organizational skill (symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Social withdrawal, reduced emotions, don't feel pleasure (negative symptoms of schizophrenia). Gastrointestinal symptoms, including chronic constipation.

What are 3 activities that release dopamine? ›

Dopamine is most notably involved in helping us feel pleasure as part of the brain's reward system. Sex, shopping, smelling cookies baking in the oven — all these things can trigger dopamine release, or a "dopamine rush."

Is ADHD caused by a lack of dopamine? ›

As you know, one trademark of ADHD is low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine — a chemical released by nerve cells into the brain. Due to this lack of dopamine, people with ADHD are "chemically wired" to seek more, says John Ratey, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Why do ADHD brains crave carbs? ›

Sugar and other high carb foods boost dopamine levels in the brain, leading us to crave them more often when dopamine levels are low. Since children with ADHD have chronically low levels of dopamine, they are more likely than other children to crave and eat sugary or carbohydrate-heavy foods.

What behaviors can come from too much dopamine? ›

Having too much dopamine — or too much dopamine concentrated in some parts of the brain and not enough in other parts — is linked to being more competitive, aggressive and having poor impulse control. It can lead to conditions that include ADHD, binge eating, addiction and gambling.

Can children get addicted to screen time? ›

Screen Dependency Disorder: Excessive Screen Time Explained

Whether kids are playing video games or using smartphone apps, there is a growing mountain of evidence suggesting that young boys and girls are exhibiting addictive behavior. Why? Largely because of extensive exposure to (unregulated) screen time.

What is a dominant mother syndrome? ›

MD. Overbearing mothers hover, criticize, and overstep boundaries, which can lead to a host of challenges for their adult children including low self-esteem, dependence, and perfectionism. These mothers may think they are doing what's best for their children, but ultimately their hovering causes harm.

What is eggshell parenting? ›

The clicky phrase 'eggshell parent' has over 297 million views on TikTok and counting. It stems from the saying 'walking on eggshells' around someone who is prone to emotional unpredictability and moodiness.

What happens to children of emotionally unstable parents? ›

Being raised by an emotionally unavailable parent or guardian can lead to a life of unstable friendships, strings of failed relationships, emotional neediness, an inability to self-regulate, provide for yourself, and identity confusion.

How do you know if you have anger issues as a kid? ›

Their Behavior Is Dangerous to Themselves or Others

When a child has anger issues, their behavior impacts everyone around them. They may throw themselves on the ground and pound their fists or lash out at anything within reach. Your child may throw toys or look for something to hit or break while they are angry.

How do you raise a child with a strong personality? ›

And that is certainly not a bad thing.
  1. Benefits of Having a Strong-Willed Child.
  2. Tip #1: Identify Your Child's Most Common Power Struggles.
  3. Tip #2: Give Them Some Power and Control.
  4. Tip #3: Show Some Empathy and Respect.
  5. Tip #4: Find a Routine That Works.
  6. Tip #5: Focus on Problem-Solving, NOT Punishment.
  7. Final Thoughts.

What happens when you control your child too much? ›

Controlling parenting can undermine children's self-regulation and their capacity for responsibility. Instead of learning how to manage their own behavior, children may become reactive, responding negatively to being controlled.

What helps ADHD impulsivity? ›

The following strategies can help you identify your triggers and learn how to control ADHD-related impulsivity.
  • Show yourself compassion. ...
  • Identify weak spots. ...
  • Remove triggers. ...
  • Create obstacles. ...
  • Create a gap between impulse and action. ...
  • Imagine the future. ...
  • Learn emotional management skills. ...
  • Plan ahead.
Jun 17, 2021

At what age does a child master impulse control? ›

Children don't actually develop this kind of self-control until 3.5 to 4 years of age, and even then, they still need a lot of help managing their emotions and impulses.

Do kids with ADHD have poor impulse control? ›

Many children with ADHD seem to spend their lives in time-out, grounded, or in trouble for what they say and do. The lack of impulse control is perhaps the most difficult symptom of ADHD to modify.

What does a dysregulated child look like? ›

Dysregulated mood refers to a pattern of behavior in a child or adolescent who is often irritable and angry and who has frequent intense temper tantrums and outbursts. These behaviors occur several times a week or more and can be interspaced with times when then child is otherwise in a good mood.

What three things can help a child with self regulation? ›

How to support the development of self-regulation in children
  • Manage your own stress. ...
  • Keep the end goal in mind. ...
  • Develop realistic expectations. ...
  • Stay calm and model self-regulation. ...
  • Be supportive and encouraging. ...
  • Ensure that children's resource pool for regulation is regularly replenished. ...
  • Reduce unnecessary demands.

Are kids with ADHD very emotional? ›

Children with ADHD experience the same emotions as do other children, but their feelings are more frequent, intense, and longer-lasting. Because the underlying brain mechanisms that help manage emotions are affected by ADHD, emotional regulation development is delayed.

What does self-control look like for kids? ›

Self-control means being able to resist immediate temptations and avoid acting on impulse in order to achieve more important goals, such as learning or being kind. When kids have better self-control, they do better in school and get along better with others.

What is a control child? ›

What are Control Issues in Children? Children with control issues often have trouble with controlling their emotions and behaviors. They may be impulsive, uncooperative, or aggressive. If children struggle with these types of behaviors it can affect everything from school to social interactions.

What are three circles of control? ›

Steven Covey created a model that shows 3 concentric circles: Concern, Influence and Control. How can you balance your energy between expanding your circle control with managing your own self- care and letting go of the things you cannot control?

At what age is self-control fully developed? ›

Almost half (42 percent) believe children have this ability by two years. Research shows this type of self-control is also just starting to develop between 3.5 and 4 years, and that it takes many more years for children to master the ability to manage their feelings.

At what age can a child control their emotions? ›

At what age can a child control their emotions? Once a child reaches school age, around five years old, they should be able to regulate their emotions with some success.

What causes a child to be selfish? ›

Studies show that children who grow up with a sense of entitlement — which comes from over-parenting and overindulging your children — are more concerned about themselves, show less empathy for others, lack a strong work ethic, and may behave as if rules don't apply to them.

What is an avoidant mother? ›

Parents of children with an avoidant attachment tend to be emotionally unavailable or unresponsive to them a good deal of the time. They disregard or ignore their children's needs, and can be especially rejecting when their child is hurt or sick.

What is the stay at home mom syndrome? ›

Stay-at-home mom burnout refers to a state of chronic stress and exhaustion experienced by moms who have the full-time job of taking care of a home and kids. Burnout can also impact mothers who have careers outside of their home, too.

What is depleted father syndrome? ›

“Parental burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. It leaves parents feeling chronically fatigued, often experiencing sleep and concentration problems, and it can lead to depression, chronic anxiety, and illness.”

How does yelling affect ADHD? ›

Yelling doesn't help kids with ADHD learn better behavior. In fact, harsh punishment can lead them to act out more in the future. Try these calm, collected ways to deal with discipline instead.

What foods to avoid with ADHD? ›

Some of the common foods that can cause ADHD reactions include milk, chocolate, soy, wheat, eggs, beans, corn, tomatoes, grapes, and oranges. If you suspect a food sensitivity may be contributing to your child's ADHD symptoms, talk to your ADHD dietitian or doctor about trying an elimination diet.

What type of parenting causes anxiety in children? ›

Overcontrolling parents may increase levels of worry and social anxiety in children as this parental behavior may communicate to youths that they do not have the skills to successfully navigate challenges in their environment, generally or in social situations, thereby causing the child to worry about his/her abilities ...

What parenting style is severe anxiety? ›

Authoritarian parenting, which uses stern, harsh behavior with children, can lead to moderately-high levels of anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. Children who're brought up by authoritarian parents tend to be worried about things that a normal child shouldn't be worried about.

What kind of parents cause social anxiety? ›

Parenting factors of insecure parent–child attachment; negative parenting styles, such as overcontrol or criticism; and modeling social anxiety have been implicated in the development of SAD in children.

Can a phone cause too much dopamine? ›

The problem is this dopamine boost is temporary and leads to a letdown. Our brains want more dopamine, which triggers the habit of checking our phones constantly throughout the day.” The good news is if you limit how often you use your phone, you will notice life-changing benefits, including: Less anxiety and stress.

Does watching TV spike dopamine? ›

Who knew binge watching your favorite series could produce a "high?" It's true. When you're engaged in an activity you enjoy, your brain produces dopamine — a chemical that promotes feelings of pleasure, excitement and happiness.

What activities lower dopamine levels? ›

High Versus Low Dopamine Activities

Low-dopamine activities (LDAs) take time and don't provide instant gratification. Examples are working out, doing chores, playing an instrument, drawing, taking a shower, or having a conversation.

Does screen light lower dopamine? ›

Studies found that bright light of ANY color (not just blue, but more of that below) between the hours of 11pm and 4am suppresses dopamine, which sets the tone for feeling low, depressed and unable to push through obstacles – in other words it robs you of positivity. How can you counteract it?

What destroys dopamine receptors? ›

Over time, meth destroys dopamine receptors, making it impossible to feel pleasure.

What are the signs of too much dopamine in the brain? ›

Having too much dopamine — or too much dopamine concentrated in some parts of the brain and not enough in other parts — is linked to being more competitive, aggressive and having poor impulse control. It can lead to conditions that include ADHD, binge eating, addiction and gambling.

What are symptoms of high dopamine? ›

High dopamine symptoms include anxiety, excessive energy, insomnia, and hallucinations. Low dopamine levels are associated with brain fog, mood swings, and muscle spasms.

Is Netflix dopamine? ›

Finishing an episode or a series allows fans to feel like they have achieved a task, leading to a release of dopamine in the brain. One simple reason why most people are addicted to Netflix is that it makes them happy.

How do you reset dopamine levels? ›

Things You Can Do to Reset Your Brain's Dopamine Levels
  1. Create exciting daily routines. Incorporate fun activities into your daily routine, even if they are mindless activities. ...
  2. Focus on perfecting your sleep schedule. ...
  3. Improve your diet. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Practice mindfulness. ...
  6. Listen to music.
Apr 24, 2022

What is a dopamine detox? ›

If so—according to a trend circulating on social media—you're a great candidate for something called a “dopamine detox.” It involves identifying behaviors that you turn to too frequently for a quick boost—mainly things like social media, gaming, and watching TV—then taking a break from them for a few days to a week.

What foods decrease dopamine? ›

Some animal research has found that saturated fats, such as those found in animal fat, butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, may disrupt dopamine signaling in the brain when consumed in very large amounts ( 11 , 12 , 13 ).

Is ADHD a dopamine deficiency? ›

As you know, one trademark of ADHD is low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine — a chemical released by nerve cells into the brain. Due to this lack of dopamine, people with ADHD are "chemically wired" to seek more, says John Ratey, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

What are low dopamine activities for kids? ›

High versus low dopamine activities
  • arts and crafts.
  • assembly toys (e.g., Legos)
  • mail order kits.
  • books.
  • board and tabletop games.
  • indoor sports (e.g., ping pong or billiards)
  • backyard sports.
  • charity work.

What does too much screen time do to a child's brain? ›

Screen time may affect its growth. A study called Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) revealed that some kids who use screens more than seven hours a day had a thinner cortex than those who used screens less. Future studies hope to show how this will affect kids' brains over time.

Does melatonin lower dopamine? ›

Apart from this, studies have shown that melatonin also has a mutual regulatory effect with dopamine in the circadian cycle. During the day, melatonin level decreases and dopamine level increases, while at night, melatonin level increases and dopamine level decreases (Shen et al., 2017).

Does low dopamine affect eyes? ›

If dopamine receptors in the retina are affected, one of the changes that could occur is a decrease in the ability to distinguish between different shades of color. Eye changes involving color perception sometimes contribute to vision-related disturbances that might include visual hallucinations.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated:

Views: 6266

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.