Dopamine Nation with Anna Lembke

Anna Lembke sober curious podcast dopamine nation ruby warrington

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My guest today is psychiatrist Anna Lembke MD, a specialist in Addiction Medicine at Stanford University. I invited Anna on to talk about her latest book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence – in which she posits that practically anything can become addictive in what she describes as the “dopamine saturated ecosystem” of our world today.

Her book is a deep dive into the dopamine function of the brain, and she spells out exactly what is happening biologically whenever we reach for a drink, a pill, a smoke, a tweet, another person or whatever it is for us, in an attempt to tip the balance towards pleasure and away from pain. Thanks to the combination of consumerism and technology, she argues that we must resource ourselves to remain resistant to the addictive impulses that are constantly being triggered.

Anna’s book is packed with real life examples of people working through their addictions to anything and everything – and it provides fascinating insights into how to disrupt and reset the reward function of the brain. In the episode we discuss:

-How Anna came to work in the field of addiction – and why she finds this branch of the medical professional uniquely fulfilling

-Her definition of a “spiritual solution” to addiction

-Why almost everything in our dopamine saturated ecosystem is “drugified”

-Why it’s possible to get addicted to almost anything that tips us towards pleasure and away from pain

-What makes some people more vulnerable to addiction

-Why prohibition does and doesn’t work

-Why in an age of hyper-consumerism we must actively resist over-consumption

-Why high rates of anxiety and depression are linked to the constant “comedown” of living in a pleasure-saturated world

-Why doing hard things helps us build mental, emotional, and spiritual muscle

-The value of “pro-social” shame when it comes to positive behavior change

-Our mutual email obsession – and how we are both working with this

-How the concepts of “dopamine fasting” and “self-binding” can help us reset

-Her views on moderation – and what must happen first before we can even consider this approach

Get your copy of Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke MD HERE

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