Understanding Down Regulation:
Down regulation is a phenomenon that occurs when there is a drop in dopamine receptors in the reward processing area of the brain.
This causes a decrease in our ability to feel pleasure, resulting in a need to seek more stimulation. And that keeps us scrolling endlessly, refreshing aimlessly to see if we can bring back some of those feel good hormones.
How dopamine addiction works:
TVs are inert objects, they don’t give us a response to our stimulation. But a personal device like an iPad or an iPhone makes our relationship interactive. It makes us feel like we’re in control.
When we send out messages, write on our walls and post pictures with filters, we live in anticipation because of the promise of a response. And, that’s our stimuli. The reward circuits in our brain is programmed to thrive on that stimuli, which gives us a shot of dopamine (the feel good hormone) high whenever we see a notification, an alert or a beeping red light.
Looking for a cure?
Put that phone and that gaming controller down once in a while. Breathe. There’s no need for checking the phone 200 times a day, or play with other virtual gamers online giving up precious sleep. Our forefathers would consider this digital obsession of ours as maniacal.
Use technology sparingly to learn, grow and reach out. You’ll be way below the national average for this sport in logging in the most number of hours online. But, that’s how you win!