Dr. Anna Lembke: The Science of Addiction | The Knowledge Project
Psychiatrist and author Dr. Anna Lembke discusses dopamine, addictive behaviors, warning signs and treatment for addiction, and how our brains handle all that pleasure and pain in life.
Link to full podcast summary: Dr. Anna Lembke: The Science of Addiction
Who is Dr. Anna Lembke?
Dr. Anna Lembke is professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She appeared in the 2020 Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma to discuss the addictive nature of social media, and she is the author of the 2021 New York Times bestseller Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, which explores how to moderate compulsive overconsumption in a dopamine-overloaded world.
Once people begin to use addictive substances in large quantities on a regular basis, it changes their brain, and now they have a secondary problem — addiction
Dopamine is the common pathway for all reinforcing substances and behaviors
Addiction is not so much related to the release of dopamine when they’re getting high or experiencing pleasure, but it’s actually the decrease in dopamine that leaves people in a state of craving
The universal symptoms of withdrawal from any addictive substance are anxiety, irritability, insomnia, dysphoria, and craving
For every pleasure we pay a price, and that price is pain
Addiction can be broken down and ranked based on four criteria: control, compulsions, cravings, and consequences
In general, the more dopamine a substance or behavior releases in the reward circuit and the faster it releases dopamine, the more likely it is to be addictive.
Growing alcohol tolerance is a marker of a brain that is entering the dopamine deficit state chronically, and therefore at risk of addiction.
For people who have become addicted, 30 days is the bare minimum to begin to reset reward pathways, two weeks is almost never enough.
Stopping alcohol alone can alleviate the stigmata of depression
Addiction patients with the most robust recoveries are the ones who have learned that they have to tell the truth about everything
We have more willpower in the morning than at night
So much of our lives are governed by the prospect of rewards and how we’re going to finish this to get to the next thing. But over time, progressive disappointment in those rewards can cause problems
Success for Dr. Lembke is just having a good day — a lot of good days add up to a pretty good life