Dopamine Nation by Dr. Anna Lembke

Review by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor

My take; I am in the process of attempting to develop a somewhat different program to offer women in recovery and have been doing a lot of research on addiction. As a high-profile trauma nurse, I have used dopamine on patients more times than I can count as a lifesaving vasopressor that is meant to support blood pressure. Damn, I thought “what a concept, Dopamine Nation” is……Dopamine reacts to areas of the brain, not only to support blood pressure, but it is the pain or pleasure reactor, and it gives one a feeling of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation and it stabilizes your blood pressure in times of distress that can be life-threatening. 

Dopamine also has a part in your memory, mood, sleep, learning and concentration.  Just when I thought I knew it all, Dr. Lembke allowed me to learn more.  Dopamine is not just a drug; it is the most powerful and life–sustaining chemical of all.  Dopamine is at the top of the chain of our pain and pleasure centers of our minds……..who knew?

We live in a time of over-consumption, we are a culture of “more, and of instant gratification”.  Dopamine Nation demonstrates how our personal and social price is ruled by the next fix, and how we can manage it.  No matter what you find yourself over-doing, whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, or the internet, she weaves for us a description that is clever, debatable, and well researched with some real patient stories in an expert voice that is very clever and very real.  Anna Lembke is brilliant.  I highly recommend this read…