October 2021 saw the publication of an important book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Dr. Anna Lembke, the medical director of addiction medicine at Stanford University and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic.
As the summary explains, “This book is about pleasure. It’s also about pain. Most important, it’s about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. We’re living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli- drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such we’ve all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.”
Wealthy consumers can easily become addicted to dopamine unless they consciously self-regulate and when needed, they detox to bring their dopamine levels back to their personal baseline. According to Dr. Lembke it takes a minimum of 30 days of abstinence to bring your dopamine levels back to your personal baseline.
So the questions to ask yourself are:
1. Am I able to not buy anything other than basic essentials (food, cleaning products etc) for the next 30 days? And,
2. For the next 30 days, can I avoid online shopping sites, together with my favourite online magazines and social media that influence me to buy more?