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Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction
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Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,140 ratings  ·  213 reviews
From a renowned behavioral neuroscientist and recovered drug addict, an authoritative and accessible guide to understanding drug addiction: clearly explained brain science and vivid personal stories reveal how addiction happens, show why specific drugs--from opioids to alcohol to coke and more--are so hard to kick, and illuminate the path to recovery for addicts, loved ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Doubleday Books
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 ·  1,140 ratings  ·  213 reviews


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Morgan Blackledge
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Author Judith Grisel is a recovered drug addict who got clean in the 80s and became a neuroscientist in search of a cure for addiction.

Now, 40 some years later, she’s all but thrown in the towel on that project.

There is no cure.

There may never be a “cure”.

Addiction is simply not that kind of issue.

Addiction has historically been viewed as a weakness of will, or flawed character, or due to an addictive personality.

That’s all a bunch of primitive, punitive, ignorant, dysfunctional,
...more
Kristy K
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

An eye-opening and informative book about addiction and neuroscience. Written by an addict turned PhD recipient, there were great insights along with well-researched data. A lot of pieces of information I didn’t know and having Grisel’s personal experience interjected really helped flesh out the material. Addiction is a crippling and oft misunderstood mental illness that so many battle and it was good to see text that exposed the reality of addiction while not shaming those who suffer.
...more
Camelia Rose
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One quarter of memoir and three quarters of neuroscience, Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction is by far the best popular science book about substance addiction I've read. The author Judith Grisel had been a heavy drug-addict. She started drinking alcohol at age of 13, took weed, cocaine and any drugs she could find, dropped out of university, worked odd jobs and committed petty crimes to feed her addiction, and did not stop abusing drugs until the age 23. After she sought ...more
Lindsay Nixon
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
STOP, read Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs if you want to learn about addiction/neurology re: addiction.

and The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma helps explain trauma (the root to most addiction)

I have never been so disappointed by a book. It's a weird book in that it starts off as, and sometimes returns to being, a memoir of a junkie. The rest feels like a stale book report prepared by a High School student about various drugs
...more
Rebecca
(2.5) Judith Grisel first got drunk at age 13. From then until her early twenties, she was always seeking oblivion via one drug or another. There came a point when she was homeless and, while they were bingeing in a South Florida hotel room, her drug buddy remarked to her that there would never be enough cocaine for them. This served as a turning point: Grisel got clean, embarked on a PhD program in behavioral neuroscience, and for the past 20 years has been investigating the biological basis of ...more
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
After years of experience as drugs addict, Judith Grisel got sober and embraced the chance to scientifically study the mechanisms underneath addictive substances, and their consequences onbehavior. Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction is her accessible and authoritative guide through a taxonomy of stimulants, depressants, uppers and downers, alcoholics, plants, liquids, pills, and needles.

Addiction today is epidemic and catastrophic.The personal and social consequences of
...more
Denise
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Reads more like a textbook which became a bit monotonous. I much prefer the book Dopesick by Beth Macy for a look at addiction, but it was interesting to hear the authors reflections on her own experience with drugs and addiction. This book would probably be more interesting for those who have only a small knowledge of addiction/drugs and the neuroscience behind it. Its a good introduction that includes the science and factual information on the subject that i find important, but still ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
“Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction” challenges trendy pop-psychology notions of how the brain works to uncover the underlying truths behind addiction. The book is eminently readable for the lay person, even riveting at times, despite technical descriptions and jargon that require a little more focus. Autobiographical details are included, but this book is not an addiction memoir. Examples from Grisel’s own experiences serve to add depth to what is a precise and ...more
Mel
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
I had to really take my time with this one... Grisel proves her wisdom over and over, detailing the hows and whys of addiction specific to different drugs, but it missed the mark I was hoping it would land on in the end. I guess it's that I was hoping for more of a tell-all about this neuroscientist's own trial with addiction while she was much younger as she still lives to warn us nearly 30 years after getting sober, but instead it read mostly like a textbook. I was glad to have this ...more
LittleSophie
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
That was a really informative and engaging book about the neurological implications and pecularities of addiction and specific drugs. The author mixes easy to follow scientific explanations with more colloquial musings about her own experience with addiction, which worked really well, I think, and prevented the book from ever feeling didactive.
I really recommend this for an informed, sympathetic and emphatic view on the rising tide of addiction.
Susan
This is not just another drunkalogue, but instead is a review of the way drugs affect our brains, down to specific neurotransmitters and receptor sites that I found fascinating reading. The author does relate some of her own drinking and drug use experience to establish her bona fides, but the most interesting part for me was the science and the way epigenetics may influence who becomes addicted and who doesn't.
Kari
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly informative and insightful investigation of addiction from the perspective of a recovering addict and neuroscientist. I enjoyed Grisel's ability to put the isolation of addiction into context with social movements and the rise of capitalism. Addiction is a personal, social, neuroscientific, and public health issue. She wove in all of the intertwining factors beautifully and in an entertaining way. Highly recommend this book to anyone as the drug crisis is more urgent than ever.
Yelena Dubovaya
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing

really really enjoyed this book!

Part memoir and part neuroscience textbook - the fact that the author is a former addict really helps to shape her views and give her a more pragmatic approach to the experiences of doing certain drugs and their appeal, rather than listening to an academic who can only understand drugs in theory. This book opened my eyes to addiction, and to what it really means to "have an addictive personality" (which I formerly thought was just a cop-out for addiction).

Grisel
...more
Patrick Horgan
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Fascinating and engaging, this book did a wonderful job of helping me understand neuroscience as a whole, in particular how it relates to addiction. I appreciate that the author didn't dumb down any of the science, and explained it at an advanced level.

I especially like how the author interwove her own experience in this book at just the right moments, keeping it engaging whenever it would start to become almost a tedious list of facts and studies. However, her own memories do not overpower the
...more
Connie Hall
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Utterly fascinating. As a sober/clean person for many years now, I loved her succinct explanation of each class of drugs and how they work and then stop working. I thought that I was pretty well versed in this area, but found myself learning a lot. I highly recommend!
Caroline Miller
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was a bit too much science talk for me and kinda all for nothing. Basically an addict can never get enough of their preferred drug and there's no cure. The end.
Nicole Westen
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book fascinating. It really delves into how the brain is affected by drugs on a biological level, and how it fights back, so to speak. There is a kind of chemical equilibrium in the brain, and anything that messes with that equilibrium is countered. An apt example used by the author is how if you get too hot, your body sweats, and if you get too cold, you shiver; basically your body is trying to get you back into it's set temperature range. Your brain does that too, which helps ...more
Jeremy
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book from a certain perspective, that being her anecdotal experience and certain parts of the science. Overall this book isn't strong on the scientific aspect of addiction, but I would say she does a decent job of explaining it on a shallow level. I am not a person with an addictive predilection, and I don't have much experience with people who are hard core addicts. So some of this was new to me, but may not be new to others.

I thought the overall point is a strong one, that there
...more
Ivo Temelkov
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book! It explores personal stories of addiction along with solid neuroscience in a successful attempt to convey to the general public the bitter irony of drug abuse - what comes up, must come down and will never get as high again. It doesn't quite get that fifth star though because of her one-sided point of view, ignoring research in favor of her bias and some subtle unexplained contradictions. For example, Grisel claims the brain reacts to all psychoactive drugs by producing the ...more
Katie
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was looking for. Partially a memoir about her own experience with addiction, partially an essay for school explaining drugs and their effect on the human body and what we can do to help addicts ( I could see myself writing this book, basically...) and partially a snippet out of a neuroscience textbook that expects you to understand all brain anatomy without introduction. This wasn't absolute garbage, it read well but just wasn't structured well and had an annoying undertone to it. It ...more
Kristine
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Never Enough by Judith Grisel is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early February.

Perpetual addiction as a way to escape day to day reality and the tight grasp of mental illness, as well as the neurological side of being addicted to different kinds of drugs, how prevalent it can be in any society, the personal/institutional costs, and stories of the author’s own experiences. Grisel grasps your hand at the beginning of each chapter to make a good impression and offer deep-cut philosophical
...more
Jocelyn
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Everyone should read this book. Admittedly I didn’t always understand the neuroscience she was describing, I did however walk away with a better comprehension of the opponent process theory and understanding of drug and alcohol addiction. She touches both on legal (proscription drugs, alcohol, caffeine) and illegal drugs.

I especially loved the last chapter and how important love and connection are even though it is easier to walk away from someone with a substance abuse problem, that will never
...more
Michele
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recovery
Best book on addiction I've read to date. A perfect balance of science and personal story to illustrate brain function through drug/alcohol exposure and into addiction. Each drug has its own chapter and reads quickly. As an alcoholic, I especially appreciated the time she spent dealing with the widespread use of alcohol and the attitudes towards those of us who have quit. (Spoiler alert: it can be a lonely experience.)
Ruth This one
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book written by an addict turned neuroscientist on how drugs affect the brain, how the brain responds and how dependency grows. It is a book for lay people but includes plenty of scientific detail (for me anyway).

The author covers each class of drugs separately, and then takes a step back to consider what causes some people to be more likely to become addicts than others.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone with children and particularly teens, anyone who likes a
...more
Ian
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Grisel does two things really well in this book. She gets to the marrow of what an addict's life is because she lived it before she found recovery and got her professional credentials. She also, in very helpful chapters, describes what the specific drugs do to our brains. So enlightening to me as someone genetically predisposed to alcohol abuse.
Dan Wilbur
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helped me understand drugs I’ve mindlessly put in my body for my whole life. Personal, interesting, important. Some of the explanations of how the brain works, understandably, were difficult to understand. Gets a little too technical at times in that sense but if you have patience, you can understand how everything affects your brain and body!
Mariya
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Jennifer
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - former drug addict turned Neuroscientist who studies addiction. Interesting read - some of it was a little too technical for me.
Dramatika
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating study on addiction, perfect for a laymen, the best pop science book I’ve read this year
Erin
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Compelling, fascinating, honest, and a call to all of us to embrace humility and human connection.
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JUDITH GRISEL, Ph.D., is a behavioral neuroscientist and a professor of psychology at Bucknell University. She has been awarded more than a million dollars in federal funding to pursue research on the causes of drug abuse. Her work focuses on what in the brain predisposes people to addiction, and her most recent paper revealed a genetic risk for alcoholism in women.
“The very definition of an addictive drug is one that stimulates the mesolimbic pathway, but there are three general axioms in psychopharmacology that also apply to all drugs:

1. All drugs act by changing the rate of what is already going on.

2. All drugs have side effects.

3. The brain adapts to all drugs that affect it by counteracting the drug’s effects.”
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