Click here to Download Dopamine Nation PDF Book by Anna Lembke Language English having PDF Size 7.9 MB and No of Pages 229.
But if we do that, you and I, we miss an opportunity to appreciate something crucial about the way we live now: We are all, of a sort, engaged with our own masturbation machines. Circa age forty, I developed an unhealthy attachment to romance novels. Twilight, a paranormal romance about teenage vampires, was my gateway drug.
Dopamine Nation PDF Book by Anna Lembke
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I was embarrassed enough to be reading it, much less admitting I was enthralled by it. Twilight hit that sweet spot between love story, thriller, and fantasy, the perfect escape as I rounded the corner of my midlife bend. I was not alone. Millions of women my age were reading and fanning Twilight. There was nothing unusual per se about my getting caught up in a book.
I’ve been a reader all my life. What was different was what happened next. Something I couldn’t account for based on past proclivities or life circumstance. When I finished Twilight, I ripped through every vampire romance I could get my hands on, and then moved on to werewolves, fairies, witches, necromancers, time travelers, soothsayers, mind readers, fire wielders, fortune-tellers, gem workers . . . you get the idea.
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At some point, tame love stories no longer satisfied, so I searched out increasingly graphic and erotic renditions of the classic boy-meets-girl fantasy. I remember being shocked at how easy it was to find graphic sex scenes right there on the general fiction shelves at my neighborhood library. I worried that my kids had access to these books.
The raciest thing at my local library growing up in the Midwest was Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Food is manipulated by technicians around the world. Following World War I, the automation of chip and fry production lines led to the creation of the bagged potato chip.
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In 2014, Americans consumed 112.1 pounds of potatoes per person, of which 33.5 pounds were fresh potatoes and the remaining 78.5 pounds were processed. Copious amounts of sugar, salt, and fat are added to much of the food we eat, as well as thousands of artificial flavors to satisfy our modern appetite for things like French toast ice cream and Thai tomato coconut bisque.
With increasing access and potency, polypharmacy—that is, using multiple drugs simultaneously or in close proximity—has become the norm. My patient Max found it easier to draw out a timeline of his drug use than to explain it to me. As you can see in his illustration, he started at age seventeen with alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis (“Mary Jane”). By age eighteen, he was snorting cocaine.
At age nineteen, he switched to OxyContin and Xanax. Through his twenties, he used Percocet, fentanyl, ketamine, LSD, PCP, DXM, and MXE, eventually landing on Opana, a pharmaceutical-grade opioid that led him to heroin, where he stayed until he came to see me at age thirty. In total, he went through fourteen different drugs in a little over a decade. Dopamine Nation PDF Book
The world now offers a full complement of digital drugs that didn’t exist before, or if they did exist, they now exist on digital platforms that have exponentially increased their potency and availability. These include online pornography, gambling, and video games, to name a few. “I mostly sat on the couch and built up a lot of anger and resentment: at myself, at the world.” “What were you angry about?”
“I felt like I’d wasted my undergraduate education. I hadn’t studied what I really wanted to study. My girlfriend was still back at school . . . doing great, getting a master’s. I was wallowing at home doing nothing.” After David’s girlfriend graduated, she landed a job in Palo Alto. He followed her there, and in 2008 they were married.
David got a job at a technology start-up, where he interacted with young, smart engineers who were generous with their time. He got back into coding and learned all the stuff he had meant to study in college but was too afraid to pursue in a room full of students. He got promoted to software developer, was working fifteen-hour days, and ran thirty miles a week in his spare time. Dopamine Nation PDF Book
“But to make all that happen,” he said, “I was taking more Adderall, not just in the morning, but all through the day. I’d wake up in the morning, take Adderall. Get home, eat dinner, take more Adderall. Pills became my new normal. I was also drinking huge amounts of caffeine. Then I’d hit the end of the night, and I needed to go to sleep, and I’m like, Okay, what do I do now?
So I went back to the psychiatrist and talked her into giving me Ambien. I pretended like I didn’t know what Ambien was, but my mom had taken Ambien for a long time, and a couple uncles too. I also talked her into a limited prescription of Ativan for anxiety before presentations. From 2008 to 2018.
I was taking up to thirty milligrams of Adderall a day, fifty milligrams of Ambien a day, and three to six milligrams of Ativan a day. I thought, I have anxiety and ADHD and I need this to function.” We’ve all experienced craving in the aftermath of pleasure. Whether it’s reaching for a second potato chip or clicking the link for another round of video games. Dopamine Nation PDF Book
It’s natural to want to re-create those good feelings or try not to let them fade away. The simple solution is to keep eating, or playing, or watching, or reading. But there’s a problem with that. With repeated exposure to the same or similar pleasure stimulus, the initial deviation to the side of pleasure gets weaker and shorter and the afterresponse to the side of pain gets stronger and longer.
A process scientists call neuroadaptation. That is, with repetition, our gremlins get bigger, faster, and more numerous, and we need more of our drug of choice to get the same effect. Needing more of a substance to feel pleasure, or experiencing less pleasure at a given dose, is called tolerance. Tolerance is an important factor in the development of addiction.
This method helps us to avoid not only our drug of choice but also the triggers that lead to craving for our drug. This strategy is especially useful for substances we can’t eliminate altogether but that we’re trying to consume in a healthier way, like food, sex, and smartphones. My patient Mitch was addicted to sports betting. He had lost a million dollars gambling by the time he was forty. Dopamine Nation PDF Book Download
Participating in Gamblers Anonymous was an important part of his recovery. Through his involvement in Gamblers Anonymous, he learned that it wasn’t just betting on sports he had to avoid. He also had to abstain from watching sports on TV, reading the sports page in the newspaper, surfing sports-related Internet sites, and listening to sports radio.
He called all the casinos in his area and had himself put on the “no-admit” list. By avoiding substances and behaviors beyond his drug of choice, Mitch was able to use categorical binding to mitigate the risk of relapse to sports betting. There’s something tragic and touching about having to ban yourself. As for Jacob, hiding the naked body, his and others’, was an important part of his recovery.
Concealing the body as a way to minimize the risk of engaging in forbidden sexual concourse has long been a part of many cultural traditions, continuing to the present day. The Quran says of female modesty: “And tell the believing women to cast down their glances and guard their private parts and not expose their adornmen and to wrap their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment.” Dopamine Nation PDF Book Download
Beyond neurotransmitters, extreme cold in animals has been shown to promote neuronal growth, all the more remarkable since neurons are known to alter their microstructure in response to only a small handful of circumstances. Christina G. von der Ohe and her colleagues studied the brains of hibernating ground squirrels.
During hibernation, both core and brain temperatures drop to within 0.5–3 degrees Celsius. At freezing temperatures, the neurons of hibernating ground squirrels look like spindly trees with few branches (dendrites) and even fewer leaves (microdendrites). As the hibernating ground squirrel is warmed, however, the neurons show remarkable regrowth, like a deciduous forest at the height of spring.
This regrowth occurs rapidly, rivaling the kind of neuronal plasticity seen only in embryonic development. The study’s authors wrote of their findings: “The structural changes we have demonstrated in the hibernator brain are among the most dramatic found in nature. . . . Whereas dendritic elongation can reach 114 micrometers per day in the hippocampus of the developing rhesus monkey embryo. Dopamine Nation PDF Book Download
Adult hibernators exhibit similar changes in just 2 hours.” Let’s first establish that telling the truth is painful. We’re wired from the earliest ages to lie, and we all do it, whether or not we care to admit it. Children begin lying as early as age two. The smarter the kid, the more likely they are to lie, and the better they are at it.
Lying tends to decrease between ages three and fourteen, possibly because children become more aware of how lying harms other people. On the other hand, adults are capable of more sophisticated antisocial lies than children, as the ability to plan and remember becomes more advanced. The average adult tells between 0.59 and 1.56 lies daily. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
We’ve all got a little smoke coming off our shorts. Humans are not the only animals with the capacity for deception. The animal kingdom is rife with examples of deception as a weapon and a shield. The Lomechusa pubicollis beetle, for example, is able to penetrate ant colonies by pretending to be one of them, something it accomplishes by emitting a chemical substance that makes it smell like an ant. Dopamine Nation PDF Book Download
Once inside, the beetle feeds on ant eggs and larvae. I’ve mentioned the Stanford marshmallow experiment of 1968, in which children between the ages of three and six were studied for their ability to delay gratification. They were left alone in an empty room with a marshmallow on a plate and were told if they could go a full fifteen minutes without eating the marshmallow.
They would get that marshmallow and a second one as well. They would get double the reward if they could just wait for it. In 2012, researchers at the University of Rochester altered the 1968 Stanford marshmallow experiment in one crucial way. One group of children experienced a broken promise before the marshmallow test was conducted.
The researchers left the room and said they would return when the child rang the bell, but then didn’t. The other group of children were told the same, but when they rang the bell, the researcher returned. The children in the latter group, where the researcher came back, were willing to wait up to four times longer (twelve minutes) for a second marshmallow than the children in the broken-promise group. Dopamine Nation PDF Book Free
Lori was an average student and an above-average athlete. She set the middle school record in the 100-meter hurdles and began to dream about the Olympics. But in her junior year of high school, she broke her ankle running hurdles. She needed surgery, and her nascent running career effectively ended. “The only thing I was good at got taken away. That’s when I started eating.
We’d stop at McDonald’s and I could eat two Big Macs. I was proud of that. By the time I got to college, I didn’t care about my appearance anymore. My freshman year I weighed 125 pounds. By the time I graduated and went to med tech school, I weighed 180 pounds. I also started experimenting with drugs: alcohol, marijuana, pills . . . mainly Vicodin. But my drug of choice was always food.”
The next fifteen years of Lori’s life were marked by wandering. Town to town, job to job, boyfriend to boyfriend. As a medical technician, it was easy to get work in almost any town. The one constant in Lori’s life was that she attended church every Sunday, no matter where she was living. Dopamine Nation PDF Book Free
“I became convinced the end of the world was coming. Armageddon. Muslims. An Iranian invasion. I bought a bunch of gas in containers. I stored them in my extra bedroom. Then I put them on the patio under a tarp. I bought a .22 caliber rifle. Then I realized I could blow up, so I started filling my car with gas from the containers until it was all gone.”