Dopamine Nation Summary 2023 - Deepstash

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Dopamine Nation Summary

About Dopamine Nation Book

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES and LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
“Brilliant . . . riveting, scary, cogent, and cleverly argued.”—Beth Macy, author of Dopesick,
as heard on Fresh Air


This book is about pleasure. It’s also about pain. Most important, 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.

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Dopamine Nation by Dr. Anna Lembke

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Relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain

Pain and pleasure are on a balance. Whenever we experience something that feels great (high dopamine level), the body will regulate itself leading to a slightly lower baseline of dopamine (i.e. less drive, joy, motivation, etc). Repeating this process without giving our body time to get back to "normal" baseline levels of dopamine can emotionally drain us and we feel depressed.

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Recovery begins with Abstinence

Abstinence(e.g. a social media fast or quitting smoking or whatever you feel like you are consuming in too large quantities) resets the brain's reward pathway allowing you to enjoy the simple things in life (a beautiful day, a meaningful conversation, play time with your pet, ...).

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Pain can reset our balance to the side of pleasure

Activities that are exhausting, challenging, or painful like cold showers, confronting one's fears, or working out can increase your dopamine level after you did those activities. However, too much pain is not good either and pain can be addicting as well.

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Kent Dunnington wrote

Persons with serious addictions are among those contemporary prophets that we ignore to our own demise, for they show us who we truely are

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