My dopamine receptors have been desensitized due to excessive internet use. Please help.

Q. Will one be more prone to being addicted to the internet because of increased dopamine levels?

Answered by
Dr. Abhishek Juneja
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 19, 2023

Hello doctor,

I have been a bit stumped because of perhaps being misguided by my research online; hence I thought to ask a doctor about it, not to play a dice roll on my health. I have been tackling and battling depression for a long time. My symptoms have been drastically altered after taking selective serotonin reuptake Inhibitors, and perhaps the increased neuroplasticity helped change my negative thought patterns. However, despite the less frequency of negative emotions, I do not have much positive emotion either; hence I was looking into it and found Bupropion may help by boosting my dopamine levels; a doctor also recommended taking it. My concern may be misguided and childish, hence not asking that doctor directly. Still, due to my overconsumption of media and internet, my dopamine receptors have most likely been desensitized to the point akin to taking cocaine. However, I do not smoke or take any drugs.

My question is, does taking the medication cause my dopamine receptors to further desensitize? In the short term boosting my dopamine, but in the long term make it so that I start feeling less pleasure to stimulate again due to too much dopamine release. If that makes any sense, does it increase my baseline dopamine levels? Will I be more prone to being addicted to internet because of increased dopamine levels? Or the other way around, given it is also used to treat smoking? I am not sure why it helps more than the increased motivation to stop because of dopamine. I understand that lifestyle changes would drastically change and help me potentially resensitize my dopamine receptors. However, despite doing so, it still seems to bug me and causes difficulty feeling positive emotions, probably due to depression and selective serotonin reuptake Inhibitors. Thank you so much for your time; is it fine for me to get a simplified explanation of how this all works? I sincerely appreciate the help.

Thank you.



Welcome to

I appreciate your interest in the pathogenesis and mechanisms of how these medicines work and their long-term implications. I advise you to limit your internet search as things are way more complex than they appear. It is worthwhile to continue taking the antidepressants and make some lifestyle changes like regular physical exercise, eating healthy food, and meditation for some time in a day.

Please follow up for further assistance.

Thank you.

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