Recovery… The Hero’s Journey with Dr. Patricia Halligan:
Interview with Anna Lembke, MD, author of “Drug Dealer, MD…How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop.” Dr. Lembke is Medical Director of Stanford Addiction Medicine Program and a longtime vocal advocate for judicious prescribing. Dr. Lembke discusses the perfect storm that created decades of overprescribing. She outlines how the lack of addiction training in psychiatry, in combination with a medical culture that pathologizes everyday anxieties and incentivizes overprescribing, has created an enormous iatrogenic problem… useless patient suffering that never had to happen. We discuss the tremendous roadblocks patients face as they desperately search for help getting off long term opioids and benzodiazepines. Dr. Lembke believes that most health care professionals need to receive addiction education, as well as education on how to prescribe and de-prescribe (opioids, benzodiazepines and antidepressants). She discusses the concept of de-prescribing clinics and her role in the 2020 documentary “Medicating Normal.” She goes on to explain the harmful effects of long term benzodiazepine prescriptions (Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan) and Z drugs (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata). Dr. Ashton and the Ashton Manual are referenced while we talk about how to deprescribe benzodiazepines and Z drugs safely and effectively. Dr. Lembke discusses her new book, “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence” (forthcoming August 2021), and turns to her patients in recovery to teach us how to live. She offers a resounding message of hope, explaining that it’s the stories of redemption that keep her coming back…she admires, deeply respects and honors people in recovery, calling them new age “prophets” with respect to their life wisdom and sense of balance. She states that a life in recovery is truly a great life and the journey of recovery inspires in her a sense of deep awe and joy.
Watch The Epidemic of Overprescribing Opioids and Benzodiazepines HERE