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Are we all drowning in dopamine without even realizing it? What are the effects of being bombarded with dopamine in the reward pathways of our brain, and more importantly, what can we do about it?

My guest, Dr. Anna Lembke, a Stanford professor and expert in the neuroscience of addiction, is on today’s episode to talk all that, including “dopamine detoxing.” Not only is Anna a psychiatrist and clinician who helps patients overcome addiction of all types, Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford, but she’s also a best-selling author. 

Her latest book Dopamine Nation is a New York Times best-seller, chock-full of the science behind dopamine and impulsive overconsumption, as well as practical tips to reset our brains with a “dopamine detox.”

And just in case you think the topic of addiction doesn’t apply to you, when’s the last time you tried to put down your smartphone for 24 hours (or longer)? In our discussion, addiction applies to more than just classic substances like alcohol and opioids. Anna and I discuss various behaviors we can develop “nefarious” relationships with, including watching Netflix and porn, playing video games, overindulging in junk food, and more.

Specifically, we talk about . . .

  • What dopamine is and its role in movement, pleasure, and addiction
  • Dopamine fasting (and how it’s not avoiding all pleasure, as commonly espoused)
  • The debate of what “true” addiction is (think heroin vs. Netflix) and how addiction is treated
  • Pornography addiction and practical ways to overcome it
  • How to maintain balance and still experience pleasure without things getting out of control
  • Mini-detoxes and how to use self-binding strategies to succeed in restraint
  • Why doing challenging (or even painful) things can actually enhance dopamine production
  • And more . . .

So, if any of that piques your interest, or if you just want to know whether you should do a “dopamine detox,” and how to do one properly, listen to this podcast!


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6:51 – What is a dopamine detox?

13:49 – What are you thoughts on addiction?

19:18 – What do those interventions look like? 

24:08 – What are some strategies to stop an addiction? 

31:20 – Are there any substances that you think are more addictive than others?

35:01 – What should someone do if they believe they are falling into addiction? 

37:44 – Is there value in committing to dopamine detoxes? 

39:41 – What are healthy sources of dopamine? 

45:52 – Is there value in setting time for relaxation and boredom?

Mentioned on the Show:

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Dopamine Nation

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!