Dr. Anna Lembke: Understanding & Treating Addiction

This episode I interview Dr. Anna Lembke, MD, Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Lembke is a psychiatrist expert in treating addictions of all kinds: drugs, alcohol, food, sex, video games, gambling, food, medication, etc. Dr. Lembke is also an expert in the opioid crisis, and the author of Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence (https://amzn.to/3AHHGBp). We discuss the biology and psychology of why people become addicted to certain substances and behaviors and the key role that our “dopamine balance” plays in creating addiction. We also discuss the science and practice of how to conquer addictions, why people relapse and how to avoid relapsing.

Dr. Lembke also shares her expertise on topics closely related to addiction such as community, shame, and lying and she explains why telling the truth—even about the most basic things in daily life, adjusts dopamine levels in our brain. This episode is an important one for anyone struggling with addictions of any kind, for their friends and families, and for health care professionals. It is also for anyone who has defeated addiction and is determined to stay clean. Last but not least, it helps explain why all humans do what we do, and how we can all maintain a healthy sense of pleasure-seeking in life.