Anna Lembke

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Anna Lembke
Lembke speaks at Stanford University in 2019
Born (1967-11-27) November 27, 1967 (age 55)
Alma materYale University (BS)
Stanford University (MD)
Known forAddiction medicine
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University

Anna Lembke (born November 27, 1967) is an American psychiatrist who is Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford University. She is a specialist in the opioid epidemic in the United States, and the author of Drug Dealer, MD, How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop.[1] Her latest book, a New York Times bestseller, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, was released in August 2021.[2]

Lembke appeared in the 2020 Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Lembke was an undergraduate student at Yale University, graduating with a B.A. in humanities in 1989.[4] She earned her M.D. at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency in psychiatry, also at Stanford, in 1998. She interned at the Alameda County Highland Hospital, specializing in adult psychiatry and addiction.[4] She was board certified in 2003.[4]

Research and career[edit]

At Stanford University School of Medicine, Lembke is Professor and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine. She is also Program Director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship and Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic.[4] The mission of Stanford's Dual Diagnosis Clinic is to support patients with substance use disorders, behavioral addictions, and co-occurring psychiatric disorders.[5]

Lembke wrote the popular science book, Drug Dealer, MD and traveled around the United States and delivered expert testimony to legislators.[6] She has also delivered a TED talk on the opioid epidemic and pain management at TEDx Stanford.[7]

Lembke has studied addiction in relation to substances like drugs and alcohol, but she has taken special interest in addictions to smartphones and other technology.[8] However, smartphone and technology "addictions" are not currently recognized as formal clinical disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) or in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10 and ICD-11).[9][10][11][12][13] Despite this, Lembke believes that smartphones are not only addictive on their own, but she purports that smartphones can exacerbate the problems of other addiction behaviors by increasing access and social contagion.[8] Lembke appeared in the 2020 Netflix docudrama The Social Dilemma, in which she argued that "social media is a drug" that exploits the brain's evolutionary need for interpersonal connection.[14] Lembke's children also appeared in the film, and the family commented that they believe most people significantly underestimate their screen time.[15]

Select publications[edit]

  • Lembke, Anna (2016). Drug Dealer, MD | Johns Hopkins University Press Books. doi:10.56021/9781421421407. ISBN 9781421421414. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  • Lembke, Anna (2012-10-25). "Why Doctors Prescribe Opioids to Known Opioid Abusers". New England Journal of Medicine. 367 (17): 1580–1581. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1208498. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 23094719.
  • Lembke, Anna; Papac, Jennifer; Humphreys, Keith (2018-02-22). "Our Other Prescription Drug Problem". The New England Journal of Medicine. 378 (8): 693–695. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1715050. ISSN 1533-4406. PMID 29466163.


  1. ^ "'Drug Dealer, M.D.': Misunderstandings And Good Intentions Fueled Opioid Epidemic". Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  2. ^ "Dopamine Nation". Anna Lembke, MD. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  3. ^ "Anna Lembke". IMDb. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  4. ^ a b c d "Anna Lembke's Profile | Stanford Profiles". Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  5. ^ "Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic". Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  6. ^ "Anna Lembke". Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  7. ^ "Anna Lembke | TEDx Stanford". Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  8. ^ a b "Q&A: Anna Lembke on smartphone technology addiction". The Stanford Daily. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  9. ^ Ting, Chuong Hock; Chen, Yoke Yong (2020-01-01), Essau, Cecilia A.; Delfabbro, Paul H. (eds.), "Chapter 8 - Smartphone addiction", Adolescent Addiction (Second Edition), Practical Resources for the Mental Health Professional, San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 215–240, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-818626-8.00008-6, ISBN 9780128186268, S2CID 241191252, retrieved 2022-01-08
  10. ^ "Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders", Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychiatric Association, 2013-05-22, doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm16, ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8, retrieved 2022-01-08
  11. ^ "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition" (PDF). Repository Poltekkes Kemenkes Kaltim. 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-12-08. Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  12. ^ "ICD-10 Version:2019". Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  13. ^ "ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics". Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  14. ^ Girish, Devika (2020-09-09). "'The Social Dilemma' Review: Unplug and Run". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  15. ^ "Reclaim your screen time". The Social Dilemma. Retrieved 2020-09-16.