#222 Finding Balance In A Dopamine Overloaded World with Dr Anna Lembke


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CAUTION: Includes themes of an adult nature.

Do you think you have an addiction, or perhaps an unhealthy relationship with a certain behaviour? It may be a behaviour that you have tried to stop in the past that you keep returning back to despite your best intentions. Well, if you do (and I cannot imagine there are many people out there who don't), I think you will find today's conversation eye-opening. My guest is Dr. Anna Lembke, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, and author of the brilliant new book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance In the Age Of Indulgence, in which she explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why our relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain.

In today's conversation, we explore the fact that we are living in a dopamine overloaded world where everything has been made more accessible, more abundant, and more potent. We're living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting...the list is endless. And the effect is that we are now living in a world that has turned many of us into addicts.

We delve into what exactly dopamine is, why we all need it, and how getting too much of it can actually lead to pain. Anna explains that pleasure and pain work like a balance in the brain. In fact, the same parts of the brain that process pleasure, also process pain. If we tip that balance too far in the pursuit of pleasure, the brain responds by overcompensating and pushing us in the direction of pain.

But it's not all doom and gloom, there is plenty that we can do to find the right balance and in our conversation, Anna shares some of her best practical advice that has been honed over years and years of treating patients.

We cover a wide range of topics, including why radical honesty is important for all of us, the lessons that we can learn from people who have been through recovery and the effect that isolation has on addiction. We also discuss how this problem of overconsumption can affect our kids at crucial stages in their development, and what we can do to protect them.

Anna is a world-leading expert in her field but what I love the most about her is her authenticity, compassionate manner and her passion to help as many people as she can. This was a really powerful conversation. I hope you enjoy listening.

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Show notes available at https://drchatterjee.com/222

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