Dopamine Nation – Freeing Ourselves from Overconsumption and Instant Gratification

Dopamine Nation – Freeing ourselves from overconsumption and instant gratification -- Bear Psychology Radio Show with Dr. Anna Lembke and Dr. Anna Baranowsky.

It seems clear to me, that if we are constantly striving to experience only pleasure we will certainly land in a hurting world of pain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger, which the brain produces) that plays a big role in the experience of pleasure.

Instant hits of pleasure can keep us hooked into a cycle of gratification that results in an escalating need for reward, but instead leads to anxiety and a thirst for satisfaction that is never fulfilled. Our brains produce chemical jolts that can be evoked by emoji text messages; Facebook “likes”; shopping excursions we cannot afford; as well as drugs, alcohol and sex. Many of these reward pathways are more accessible than ever, often keeping us constantly seeking more, without a lasting satiety.

Listen our conversation with Dr. Anna Lembke, M.D., Psychiatrist, Professor, Author.  She is Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic.  She is also the author of bestseller “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence” as well as “Drug Dealer, MD, How Doctors were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop”.

Dr. Lembke’s books help us to understand that brain chemicals are involved in a potentially dangerous reward pathway, especially where there is ease of access to ever intensifying stimulants/drugs and other activities that reinforce the pleasure cycle.  She explores meaningful strategies for withdrawing from pleasure, bringing balance through pain, or the capacity to tolerate discomfort.

In her book “Dopamine Nation” she shares her own experience of getting hooked into reading paranormal vampire novels which took her down a pathway of ever intensifying reading content.  She is a beacon of hope in understanding the complicated and deep struggles of those ensnared in the path of addiction, whatever the brand.

In her Ted Talk on the opioid epidemic and the connection to pain management, she is able to expose some of the drivers to over prescribing opioids, and the dangers related to this. She also goes over some socio-medico alternatives to more opioid prescribing.

She offers insight into the pleasure-pain mechanism and how it is wired into our brains.  She also brings recognition towards the fact that in an overabundant world, where we are encouraged to incessantly seek pleasures; we reduce our capacity to remain quiet, content or peaceful within ourselves.  She explains that the richest countries in the world have the highest rates of addiction, suicide, and pain.

Her book covers many examples of those struggling with addictions of various kinds and the dangers of avoiding pain of any kind.  She describes dopamine fasting and how profoundly beneficial this can be in resetting an overstimulated system to a greater place of balance.

Do you have a question or concern about addiction; a story to share; or a desire to try out Dopamine Fasting?  Listen us in the conversation with Dr. Lembke and her important work in finding balance from addiction.


Links & Resources:

Materials to Reference:


Access “Compassion Fatigue Resiliency & Recovery” with Dr. Anna Baranowsky & Dr. J. Eric Gentry.  You can find the audio recording at:

Access the complete “Trauma Recovery NOW!” audio program at.