In The Rising Podcast

Episode 123! Dr. Anna Lembke on Dopamine and Our Behavior

December 28, 2021 Bettina M. Brown
In The Rising Podcast
Episode 123! Dr. Anna Lembke on Dopamine and Our Behavior
Show Notes

DOPAMINE NATION is a book about pleasure.
 It’s also about pain. 

Most importantly, it’s about the relationship between the two and how understanding that relationship is essential for a life well-lived. 


Because the world has transformed from a place of scarcity to a place of overwhelming abundance: drugs, food, news, shopping, gambling, social media, and the list goes on and on. 

Today, we’re all vulnerable to the problem of addiction. In Dopamine Nation, Anna Lembke, MD,  shares the true stories of her patients falling prey to addiction and finding their way out again. 

Dr. Lembke has decades of experience in clinical practice and neuroscientific research and in DOPAMINE NATION, readers will learn: 

• The Internet promotes compulsive overconsumption not merely by providing increased access to drugs old and new, but also by suggesting behaviors that otherwise may never have occurred to us. Videos don’t just “go viral.” They’re literally contagious, hence the advent of the meme. 

• Rates of addiction are rising the world over.  The US is dominated by illicit drugs, Russia and Eastern Europe by alcohol addiction. 

• When researchers asked the following question to people in thirty countries around the world – “During the past four weeks, how often have you had bodily aches or pain? Never; seldom; sometimes; often; or very often?” – they found that Americans reported more pain than any other country. 

• Dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter involved in reward processing, but most neuroscientist agree it is among the most important. Dopamine may play a bigger role in the motivation to get a reward than the pleasure of the reward itself. 

• Exercise increases many of the neurotransmitters involved in positive mood regulation: dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Exercise contributes to the birth of new neurons and even reduces the likelihood of using and getting addicted to drugs. 

About the Author: 

  • Anna Lembke is Medical Director and Professor of Stanford Addiction Medicine, program director for the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. 

  • She is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding research in mental illness, for excellence in teaching, and for clinical innovation in treatment. 
  • A clinician scholar, she has published more than a hundred peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and commentaries in prestigious outlets such as The New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA.
  •  She sits on the board of several state and national addiction-focused organizations, has testified before various committees in the United States House of Representatives and Senate, keeps an active speaking calendar, and maintains a thriving clinical practice.

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