The Dopamine Addiction Epidemic

dopamine addiction

Dopamine addiction is probably the most prominent addiction we have in the western world. We are hooked to technology in the same way as a gambling addict is hooked to slot machines. Technology companies use the same techniques to fire the relevant neural pathways to keep their products in use as much as possible. 

“The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices? One major reason why is the #1 psychological ingredient in slot machines: intermittent variable rewards . . . Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable.” ― Tristan Harris


What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. The body makes it, and your nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells. To the layman, it is sometimes called a chemical messenger.

Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. This is how we get addicted by using social media platforms and other technology which uses this pleasure chemical as a tool for addiction. The television also becomes addictive when people want to ‘switch off’ and sit there being hypnotised while receiving this false pleasure.

When things such as drugs and technology give you a significant increase of dopamine in your brain, it gives you an immense feeling of pleasure. But repeated use also raises the threshold for the feeling. This means you need to take more to get the same high – so we get hooked onto these things and leads to ‘lows’ which require a ‘high’. 


Dopamine Addiction

Aldous Huxley thought that our society would become addicted to pleasure, leading humanity into some dystopia. I am sure that we have purposefully become addicted to our smartphones and other smart technology to hook us and keep us docile. 

When we are happy with our servitude, then the perfect slave system has been initiated. Why would anybody rebel when they have lost all sense of meaning and need their next fix to function (poorly). 

Check out my article on taking back your digital sovereignty – it was written back in September, and is one of my most well-received articles.