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The Reason Behind Your Addiction with Dr. Daniel Lieberman

Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD is the senior vice president of mental health at Hims & Hers. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University, where he has received awards for teaching and research. He studied the Great Books at St. John’s College and attended medical school at New York University. He is the coauthor of the international bestseller The Molecule of More, which has been translated into more than 20 languages, and the author of Spellbound: Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind. Dr. Lieberman has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and leading psychiatric textbooks, and has provided insight on psychiatric topics for the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Commerce, and the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy.

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How does dopamine shape your desires—both positively and negatively?

Dopamine is one of many neurotransmitters produced in your brain and is most commonly associated with pleasure. But there’s actually more to it than that. It’s the basis of motivation, incentivizing you to do things because you want something. And while that can lead to success and discoveries, it can also result in addictions of all shapes and sizes.

I’m excited to talk to our guest today, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, MD. Dr. Lieberman is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University. He’s also the co-author of the international bestseller, The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity — and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race.

The nature of dopamine is to push for more. But that actually shifts your focus from the present moment into the future where you only see what you don’t have. That can lead to feeling chronically dissatisfied and unable to enjoy the things you’ve worked hard for. Listen in as Dr. Lieberman shows you how you can leverage this powerful chemical to go after the good and let go of the bad.

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To learn more about your brain type and how to use this knowledge to create lasting change, visit kwikbrain.com/animal-quiz, and take the quiz today.

"Overcoming addiction is not about being strong, it’s about being smart."

Dr. Daniel Lieberman

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**This week’s show notes are taken from the video — enjoy!**

  • Dopamine isn’t exactly what most people think it is. It’s actually focused on this. [2:36]
  • This is how we’re trained on dopamine in society, and why it leads to dissatisfaction. [4:07]
  • Dopamine plays this role in motivation. [4:34]
  • This is the essence of addiction and how dopamine influences it. [5:28]
  • Dopamine signals this in your brain and that’s why addictions are harder to stop than others. [7:40]
  • There are multiple dopamine circuits in the brain and they impact your motivation in different ways. [9:35]
  • If you’re thinking of going on a dopamine detox, keep this in mind. [12:56]
  • It’s more effective to impact your dopamine circuit by doing this. [14:19]
  • This is why it’s difficult to stop an addictive behavior like “doom scrolling”. [16:31]
  • Do genetics play a role in addiction? Dr. Lieberman says this. [17:48]
  • Here are some things you can do if you’re worried about addictive behaviors in your own life. [18:55]
  • For most people, those strategies may not be enough. You’ll have to take it to this next level. [20:39]
  • In the age of social media, instead of focusing only on success, try this instead. [22:31]
  • If you want to learn more about Dr. Lieberman, visit his website, here.
  • To learn more about dopamine, don’t forget to get a copy of Dr. Lieberman’s book, The Molecule of More, here.


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