757: Dr. Anna Lembke, part 1: Dopamine Nation

May 24, 2024 by Joshua
in Podcast

Regular listeners know I see our relationships with many activities that are enabled by pollution as behavioral addictions like gambling or playing video games. Thus, I bring experts in addiction.

Anna’s book Dopamine Nation is one of the most accessible I’ve read. She covers the scale of addiction, how much it’s increasing, how it works, her personal history with her own addiction, and the stories of several of her patients.

After she describes her background, we start by talking about the shame that accompanies addiction and makes it hard to share about, including our personal experiences of it. We cover how much our culture and economy have embraced addiction. It’s profitable, after all.

She describes in lay terms how addiction works, how it disrupts homeostasis and the results, for example tolerance. She talks about the paradox that as we create more material abundance, we see more anxiety, depression, and other problems. We find addictive things lead us to feel we’re treating our problems, but more often add to them.

She asked me about avoiding packaged food, doof, and other sustainability experiments. I read she asked out of genuine curiosity, recognizing I’m not just doing it for myself. I think she wants to practice sustainability more and is looking to learn how.

We talk about our culture. She identifies commercially-driven epidemics for profit. You can tell I enjoyed this conversation.

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