Joe Rogan Podcast: Ice Baths Can Help You Quit Cocaine Addiction

Trading cocaine for ice...

Joe Rogan Podcast: Ice Baths Can Help You Quit Cocaine Addiction

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Dr Andrew Huberman, speaking to Joe Rogan, recently shared how making yourself feel uncomfortable on the daily can help you quit harmful habits.

In the past we’ve had Wim Hof demonstrate how taking ice-baths can be so good for your mental health. Now we’ve got neuroscientist and Stanford professor Dr Andrew Huberman talking about how ice baths helped a guy quit cocaine. Speaking to Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience, Huberman referenced a September 2021 podcast Joe did with psychiatrist Anna Lembke.

WATCH: Andrew Huberman talks about a man quitting cocaine with the help of icebaths

“I’m kind of addicted to the benefits that I get,” Rogan said, telling Huberman about his ice bath and sauna habit. “That dopamine rise is real,” Huberman responds. “A woman you had on your podcast, Dr Anna Lembke, Dopamine Nation, she talked about a patient who was getting off of cocaine. He was feeling really low so he started using ice baths as a way to ween himself off… you can’t argue with a 2.5x increase in dopamine that’s long-lasting.”

“Big spikes of dopamine that crash, that’s bad… but 2,3,4 hour increases in dopamine,” Huberman goes on to say, can be quite beneficial.

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Dr Lembke, speaking with Rogan, explained this in greater detail. She said: “What I actually recommend they [addicts] do, in addition to abstaining from their drug of choice, is to actually intentionally press on the pain side of the balance because then those neuro adaptation gremlins… hop on the pleasure side and ultimately can reset our pleasure pain pathways to the side of pleasure.”

In other words, when you deliberately do things that hurt, or that are difficult, shocking or intimidating, your body creates dopamine to make you feel better. Conversely, when you do (or take) things that make you instantly feel good and give you an artificial rush of dopamine, your body stops making/uptaking so much dopamine to compensate, ultimately making you feel worse.

Dr Lembke described addiction as a “bio psycho social disease” and said activities that give you longer-lasting dopamine spikes are less likely to lead to tolerance and addiction. That said, she still says it is possible to get addicted to these (usually) healthy activities.

Dr Lembke also warns that in our technology-saturated world there are a lot of “rat wheels” tempting us. She says almost everywhere we look there is something with the potential to put us in a dopamine-deficient state.

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She says it’s not necessarily trauma or social inequality that make us ripe for addiction “but even when everything is ideal there are so many running wheels for cocaine and its equivalent… so we are all more vulnerable to addiction.” Instagram and TikTok, it seems, are just the beginning.

The remarks clearly resonated with listeners, with one Youtube user writing: “The addictive side of ice baths is definitely true; quite new to it but definitely look forward to it despite the pain!” Another wrote: “The worst addictions are the ones that give instant gratifications. There is no intense instant reward with an athlete getting up at 5 am to train, it’s the opposite, its delayed gratification, and that delayed gratification is not even a sure thing.”

“Athletes have the choice to train, True Addicts are so addicted to the instant reward that they become powerless in front of addiction… if they try to control it alone.”

Youtube user Antoine Vallaint

Another joked: “Hell yeah; Jordan’s addiction to winning is the same as my sitting around and smoking weed all day. Discipline.”

Speaking of which, some addictions are worse than others. So even though you need to be careful with ice baths and saunas (if you over do it you could end up “cold adapted” or “hot adapted”) they could – if done under supervision, and correctly – be great tools to help you get off another, more harmful addiction.

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As Huberman says of ice baths, you eventually need to start doing things to make sure it’s still a stress stimulus. As he explains: “If you get really comfy you’re going to have to start making the water colder, shifting the water around, you can only make it so cold before you eventually have tissue damage but that’s a wide window.”

“That’s why heat is great but the upper threshold for it is as you mentioned, your throat starts hurting you’re actually burning tissue…. which is bad.”

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