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Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence Kindle Edition
*The New York Times bestseller*
All around us people are looking at their phones too much, eating too much, drinking too much. Our world is addicted to fleeting distracting pleasures that get us nowhere. Dr Anna Lembke provides a clear way back to a balanced life.
This book is about pleasure. It's also about pain. Most importantly, it's about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. 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 increased numbers, variety, and potency is staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such we've all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.
In Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke, psychiatrist and author, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain...and what to do about it. Condensing complex neuroscience into easy-to-understand metaphors, Lembke illustrates how finding contentment and connectedness means keeping dopamine in check. The lived experiences of her patients are the gripping fabric of her narrative. Their riveting stories of suffering and redemption give us all hope for managing our consumption and transforming our lives. In essence, Dopamine Nation shows that the secret to finding balance is combining the science of desire with the wisdom of recovery.
'Dr Anna Lembke is a whiz on why we get hooked on things - and how we can enjoy pleasurable things in healthier doses.' - The Guardian
--Lori Gottlieb, "Dear Therapist" columnist at The Atlantic, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone "Just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about the addiction crisis, along comes Dr. Anna Lembke with her second brilliant book on the topic--this one not about a drug but about the most powerful chemical of all: the dopamine that rules the pain and pleasure centers of our minds. In an era of overconsumption and instant gratification, Dopamine Nation explains the personal and societal price of being ruled by the next fix--and how to manage it. No matter what you might find yourself over-indulging in--from the internet to food to work to sex--you'll find this book riveting, scary, cogent, and cleverly argued. Lembke weaves patient stories with research, in a voice that's as empathetic as it is clear-eyed."
--Beth Macy, author of Washington Post Best Book of the Year, New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and bestseller Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America "We all desire a break from our routines and those parts of life that upset us. What if, instead of trying to escape these things, we learn to turn toward them, to reach a peaceful harmony with our selves and the people we share our lives with? Lembke has written a book that radically changes the way we think about mental illness, pleasure, pain, reward, and stress. Turn toward it. You'll be happy you did."
--Daniel Levitin, New York Times bestselling author of The Organized Mind and Successful Aging
"Explore[s] the dichotomy between seeking a readily accessible hit of dopamine--from our phones, gambling, or a bag of Fritos--and maintaining healthy, productive, stable lives."
--The New York Times, Inside the Best-Seller List "[An] eye-opening survey on pleasure-seeking and addiction... Readers looking for balance will return to Lembke's informative and fascinating guidance."
--Publishers Weekly starred review "... fascinating case histories, and a sensible formula for treatment."
--Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B09GMCCLLX
- Publisher : Headline (11 October 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 4698 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 305 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 2,026 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The book is also a call to change our way of living and provides some pointers to how to do that.
If I had any suggestion for improvement it would be for a second edition to include a bit more guidance on how to have healthier relationships with things that can’t be given up entirely, like food, exercise and smartphones.
Top reviews from other countries
It was a page turner for me, and I felt the "pain" associated with our dopamine system when I finished it.
To anyone who wants to learn about the mechanism I’d suggest the Huberman Lab podcast or the book: “The molecule of more”
Knowing that dopamine spikes result in flatlining and other forms of mental disintegration, I immediately bought Dopamine Nation to glean insights into the numbness that seemed to be affecting me and others and perhaps give me an exit sign from this life of addiction and numbness.
Lembke does an excellent job of defining in layman's terms our addiction to dopamine, the brain’s reward pathway and addiction: “continued and compulsive consumption of a substance or behavior despite its harm to self and/or others.”
Lembke introduces us to some of her patients, all of whom suffer some addiction or other. They are debilitated, full of self-loathing, shame, and suicidal thoughts. They are addicted to online porn, antidepressants, and cannabis; one young man is an indulged snowflake whose parents give him no boundaries or responsibilities. Not surprisingly, he has no self-worth, is “psychologically fragile,” and takes drugs. All of these patients live in fear and despair. As one patient said, “I don’t want to die an addict.” Whatever differences they have in addiction, they have one thing in common: Their life of addiction has stripped them of meaning and a life of integrity. Their souls are in decay. They are consumers without a sense of the sacred. To underscore this point, Lembke quotes Philip Rieff from Triumph of the Therapeutic: “Religious man was born to be saved; psychological man was born to be pleased.”
As Lembke persuasively argues, we are pleasuring ourselves to death, and she makes references to Alduous Huxley’s Brave New World and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death to support her thesis. She observes that in spite of our abundant sources of pleasure, we are becoming more and more miserable. In fact, she cites the World Happiness Report that shows we were happier in 2008 than we were in 2018.
With an expertise in neuroscience, she shows the futility of seeking pleasure. Repeated exposure to our desired stimulus results in weaker and weaker pleasure until we feel nothing and enter a state of anhedonia.
The second half of the book focuses on the principles of recovery. Most crucial is dopamine fasting. She writes it takes a month of such fasting to reset the brain’s reward pathway, reduce our anxieties, and achieve homeostasis or psychological equilibrium.
Another important technique to recovery is self-binding, creating barriers between us and our addictive substance. Some of us have to avoid triggers. For me, for example, I have to avoid timepiece YouTube channels because I suffer from a watch addiction.
Another form of self binding is eating only whole foods or going vegan or going paleo because these boundaries limit our calorie intake.
Another tool for recovery is honesty. If we lead a double life and keep our addiction a secret, we will be trapped in a shame-addiction cycle in which we seek pleasure to medicate ourselves from the very shame and isolation caused by our addiction.
The author argues that we should replace meaningless dopamine with intimacy dopamine, the kind that results from meaningful connections with others.
Reading Lembke’s helpful book, I thought of Viktor Frankl’s masterpiece Man’s Search for Meaning. If we ditch our addictive substance, we’re going to have a gaping hole in our soul to fill or what Frankl calls the “existential vacuum.” I would therefore recommend Frankl’s book as a way of living after recovering from addiction.