Empty Dopamine and Depression

You’ve probably heard of the phrase ’empty calories’ which seems to stand for the consumption of a high calorie food that also has a low nutrient density. Foods like sweets and cake often come under this category, and even white rice is sometimes cited.

Last year I coined the phrase ’empty dopamine’ which I define as a high pleasure activity with no further benefits or meaning outside of the pleasurable effect. Examples might be:

@ Watching porn
@ Drink and drugs
@ Playing computer games for too long (expecially ones that have no social contact)

I contemplated whether engaging in ’empty dopamine’ activities would leave the pleasure part of our brain fulfilled but no other part of us fulfilled. Would we then not be motivated in other areas of our lives if we were getting this empty highs?

It’s just a theory. I’m not a neuroscientist so the science might be bogus. So I’d love to get feedback from neuroscientists.

If we are left with no motivation in this way, do we eventually stop doing the activities with greater meaning. Does the lack of meaning then partly add to depressive symptoms.

Years ago an old work colleague said he’d become depressed and had started watching lots of pornography online. His friendships, relationship and work life became strained. I have always wondered if this is what happened to him.

Of course the depression may have come before his viewing habits. However did he get caught in activities which gave him less meaning which then kept him in his depression?

I need lots of feedback on this one. It’s only a theory. So please take with a huge pinch of sodium chloride!

Copyright MEN HEAL 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *