What is Cheap Dopamine?

Using our phones causes the release of dopamine in our brain. It's the little burst of “pleasure” you feel each time you get a new notification. Dopamine is one of the main reasons we are addicted to our phones. It's a form of what many call “cheap dopamine” — giving you a small burst of pleasure that leaves you wanting more.


10 minutes of social media = ~350 cheap dopamine hits

Our brains are so over-stimulated by Cheap Dopamine that many of us have a hard time being present, and enjoying the real world. Lowering Cheap Dopamine creates more space to enjoy the little things in life.

But, isn't Dopamine a good thing?

Dopamine can be a good thing when it's tied to healthy things like exercise, sunlight, sleep, and social interactions — but we are being overloaded with this “cheap dopamine” with all the taps, swipes, notifications, and comments.

What are the effects of too much “Cheap Dopamine”?

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Brain fog
  • Memory issues
  • Muscle cramps
  • Memory problems
  • Digestion issues
  • Sleep issues
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Lower sex drive
  • Loss of coordination

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of focus
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-control
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Less pleasure from things you used to enjoy
  • Aggression
  • Addiction

How can you reduce your Cheap Dopamine?

Using the Roots app can help you be more mindful of your cheap dopamine intake by:

  • Setting better intentions
  • Creating app limits you can't skip
  • Scheduling digital downtime
  • Tracking your daily balance score