What Are You Addicted To?

I am a fan and regular listener of the podcast Hidden Brain.

In the recent two-part podcast, The Paradox of Pleasure and The Path To Enough, host Shankar Vedantam interviews Dr. Anna Lembke, medical director of Stanford Addiction Medicine and author of Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence. This book should be required reading.

We are wired to seek pleasure. We are all addicted to something: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, pornography, texting, TikToking, Instagramming, Facebooking, YouTubing, tweeting (or now Xing). The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7. We have all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.

The problem is that the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain. We must learn how to keep dopamine in check by managing our consumption.

If you say, “Thank God, I don’t have that problem!” you are addicted to denial!