An anatomical model of the human brain held in gloved hands.
Image: Anatomical model of a human brain 1850-1894. Photo by Zan Wimberley.

Anne Lembke Addicted to Dopamine

Presented by UNSW Centre for Ideas

In Dr Anna Lembke’s new book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence (Dutton. 2021), the psychiatrist and author investigates how we can find balance in a world saturated with high-dopamine stimuli – drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, YouTubing, social media and more.

Exploring what new scientific discoveries demonstrate about the relentless pursuit of pleasure and its relationship to pain, Lembke shares firsthand learnings from her clinical patients as they struggle to overcome these problems in their own lives.

At a time when we are all vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption, both understanding the science and learning from the experiences of others can help us keep dopamine in check and find contentment and connectedness.

Lembke will appear online from California, USA, where she is Professor and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Science as part of National Science Week and Sydney Science Festival.


Dr Anna Lembke is the medical director of Stanford Addiction Medicine, program director for the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding research in mental illness, for excellence in teaching, and for clinical innovation in treatment. A clinician scholar, she has published more than a hundred peer reviewed papers, book chapters, and commentaries in prestigious outlets such as The New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA. She sits on the board of several American state and national addiction focused organisations and has testified before various committees in the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

Lembke also keeps an active speaking calendar and maintains a thriving clinical practice. Lembke recently appeared on the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, an unvarnished look at the impact of social media on our lives. Her newest book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, an instant New York Times Bestseller, explores how to moderate compulsive overconsumption in a dopamine-overloaded world.


Sana Qadar is an award-winning podcaster and journalist whose work has featured on the ABC, BBC, SBS, Al Jazeera, and NPR to name a few. Sana hosts All in the Mind on ABC Radio National, and co-hosts the SBS podcast Eyes on Gilead, which won a 2019 Australian Podcast Award for Best Fancast.

This online event is free, but bookings are essential.


UNSW Centre for Ideas