Conversations About Ethics

Reclaiming Balance in a Dopamine Saturated World

Anna Lembke, MD

As the opioid crisis grows, Dr. Anna Lembke is exploring a deeper problem - the neurobiology of living in a dopamine-saturated world. The brain's reward systems - while so necessary to survive from an evolutionary standpoint - may leave individuals susceptible to addiction in this modern world of plenty. With information coming at us from every direction, impacting the brain's pleasure-pain balance, learning how to live in the world is one of the greatest challenges facing humans in next century. We all must learn to practice moderation, restraint and self-discipline in order to survive. 

Dr. Lembke proposes that current day recovering addicts are already learning these skills. Is their experience in conquering addiction something we can all learn from?  

Also join us for the evening keynote on Drug Dealer, MD, addressing the opioid crisis in America. Details.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Leaners will be able to describe how the brain's pleasure-pain balance works, and how it is unsuited for today’s world of plenty.
  • Medical and mental health professionals and clergy who do not understand the brains reward systems may be less able to meet their ethical obligation to help their patients, clients and congregations manage particularly modern challenges.


Anna Lembke, MDAnna Lembke, MD, received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Psychiatry, and a fellowship in mood disorders, both at Stanford, and is currently Associate Professor and Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and commentaries, and is author of the book: Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2016).




Continuing Education:

For both the luncheon keynote and evening keynote:

CME: The UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accepts certificates of attendance for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare professionals receiving a certificate of attendance should consult with their licensing board for information on applicability and acceptance.

†This activity is pending approval of Ethics credit.

CEUThe Ecumenical Center is an approved provider of continuing education by the State of Texas for the following: LPC, LMFT, LCDC and Social Workers. The lunchtime seminar provides 2 Ethics Continuing Education Unit, and the evening keynote provides 1 Ethics Continuing Education Unit.

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Resource List

This resource list brings together websites, videos, audio recordings, books, and articles to supplement the workshop and lecture.

By Our Speaker

Dipping Your Toe (Introductory Information)

Wading Waist High (Intermediate Resources)

Taking a Deep Dive (Advanced Materials)

Access to Materials

Freely available Online
Available through the San Antonio Public Library
For information about how to obtain a San Antonio Public Library card, click here:
Available through the Briscoe Library at the UTHSCSA Faculty
Faculty, students, and staff may access these materials remotely using their Health Science Center log-in. Non-affiliated individuals and members of the general public may access these materials in-person by visiting the library and registering for guest access. Off-site access is not available for non-affiliated individuals and members of the general public due to licensing restrictions.