Anna Lembke: 'Addiction is the modern plague', which will be lasting

California psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke was Tucker Carlson’s guest on Wednesday’s “Tucker Carlson Today” on Fox Nation.

The host noted that Lembke is one of the nation’s top medical experts in the fields of addiction and specifically the opioid epidemic sweeping much of Middle America as of late.

Lembke, of Stanford University, told Carlson that addiction overall is a contemporary “plague”, and that it will likely be an affliction that will affect the human race for the foreseeable future:

“I really do think that addiction is the modern plague. I think it’s the quintessential problem of modernity, and one that we’re going to be contending with for the next– I don’t know, however many hundreds of years,” she said.

Lembke said that some Americans have no problem when it comes to being addicted to controlled substances, drugs including caffeine, or social media – remarking she herself doesn’t feel affected by alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

“[E]ven those who were previously not vulnerable to the problem of addiction have become vulnerable because of the incredible abundance in our world, and also because of the ways in which so much has become drug-ified,” she said.

“So behaviors that were previously not considered drugs have now essentially become drugs. They’ve been engineered to be drugs.”

In her own case, Lembke said her proverbial addiction was first reading novels on then-new technology like the Amazon Kindle:

“What happened to me in midlife is I basically got hooked on romance novels. And it was really the Kindle– the technology of the Kindle– that then had me reading later and later into the night, essentially chain reading, until I developed tolerance to kind of “The Twilight Saga,” which was my entry into this world.”

“And I developed tolerance and started needing more and more graphic forms of the romance novel, and ultimately progressed to reading the kinds of erotica that’s not actually consistent with my values,” she added.

“So over the course of a number of years– really became addicted to a kind of a book. And of course, my problem pales in comparison to people who develop very serious addictions to whatever it is.”

Lembke said that the same physiology that allows people to be addicted to seemingly mundane things like books, or Facebook, or some of the legal vices, is the same that makes people addicted to controlled substances:


“[T]he same mental machinery that, you know, gets us addicted to heroin, or to cannabis, or to nicotine, is a kind of mental machinery that potentially makes us all vulnerable,” she said.

“So the conventional view is that it’s the person’s fault for getting addicted. It doesn’t matter how many drugs or social media apps or romance novels you have out there. It’s up to the person not to get addicted to them.”

Access to such vices as well as biology and genetics are usually the top factors for addiction, she added, commenting that many people who become addicted to alcohol did not grow up in a home afflicted by such addiction but may have had ancestors or family members that were alcoholics.


By Steve