Symptoms, conditions and causes

Does stress decrease dopamine?

When you experience short-term stress, your cortisol spikes and dopamine will increase initially. Dopamine is involved with pleasure. In this case, it can act as a protective countering effect to stress. 

When you go through stress for a long period of time, you’re constantly triggering dopamine to the point where the receptors for dopamine start downgrading. Eventually, it won’t even work anymore. 

 If you have stress and high cortisol over a long period of time, you may notice:

• It’s more difficult to experience pleasure 

• You’re less motivated

• You’re less awake and alert

• You have more stress 

What you could do in this situation:

1. Get more sleep 

2. Decrease fear in your life (stop watching the news) 

3. Exercise (get out in nature and exercise) 

4. Decrease stress (isolate the source of your stress and do what you can to eliminate it or reduce it) 

Last updated: Feb 26, 2024 15:56 PM