Never Enough

The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction
Narrated by: Judith Grisel
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (277 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller

From a renowned behavioral neuroscientist and recovering addict, a rare pause-resisting work of science that draws on personal insights to reveal how drugs work, the dangerous hold they can take on the brain, and the surprising way to combat today's epidemic of addiction. 

Judith Grisel was a daily drug user and college dropout when she began to consider that her addiction might have a cure, one that she herself could perhaps discover by studying the brain. Now, after 25 years as a neuroscientist, she shares what she and other scientists have learned about addiction, enriched by captivating glimpses of her personal journey. 

In Never Enough, Grisel reveals the unfortunate bottom line of all regular drug use: there is no such thing as a free lunch. All drugs act on the brain in a way that diminishes their enjoyable effects and creates unpleasant ones with repeated use. Yet they have their appeal, and Grisel draws on anecdotes both comic and tragic from her own days of using as she limns the science behind the love of various drugs, from marijuana to alcohol, opiates to psychedelics, speed to spice. 

With more than one in five people over the age of 14 addicted, drug abuse has been called the most formidable health problem worldwide, and Grisel delves with compassion into the science of this scourge. She points to what is different about the brains of addicts even before they first pick up a drink or drug, highlights the changes that take place in the brain and behavior as a result of chronic using, and shares the surprising hidden gifts of personality that addiction can expose. She describes what drove her to addiction, what helped her recover, and her belief that a “cure” for addiction will not be found in our individual brains but in the way we interact with our communities. 

Set apart by its color, candor, and bell-clear writing, Never Enough is a revelatory look at the roles drugs play in all of our lives and offers crucial new insight into how we can solve the epidemic of abuse. 

©2019 Judith Grisel (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Dr. Judith Grisel, a neuroscientist and a person in long term addiction recovery, juxtaposes stark examples from her own tortured past, methodically connecting each experience to the hard science of addiction neurobiology. Doing this captures our attention as we peer into one of the most complex puzzles of humankind. The science behind addiction comes alive in its sorrow and grandeur. When you pick up this book get ready for an intense ride.” (Paul H. Earley, MD, DFASAM; president-elect, American Society of Addiction Medicine)

“Grisel is a recovering addict, a neuroscientist, and a talented writer. Who better to help us understand drug addiction? This book is as informative as it is moving. Here you will find clearly explained science and a gripping account of the personal and societal toll of drug addiction.” (Martha J. Farah, PhD, director, Center for Neuroscience & Society, and Walter H. Annenberg professor in the natural sciences, University of Pennsylvania) 

“It is rare to have a book on addiction marry emotional and scientific views. Never Enough sends a message of hope in relaying Judith Grisel’s pathway out of her own drug quagmire - notably, one triggered by the positive and compassionate responses of those near and dear to her.” (Christopher J. Evans, PhD, director, Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology, UCLA)

What listeners say about Never Enough

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informative and gripping

My eyes were opened to the ways in which the brain can be so resilient and at the same time so vulnerable. And in the same way I was amazed to realize how those prone to addiction can be exactly those most capable of bravery. Solving addiction is not just about curing those who are sick but about overcoming the isolation that makes all modern humans feel empty.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book, author’s voice less ideal

Wonderful, scientifically oriented text. Did not find the authors voice and prosody conducive to keeping my attention

4 people found this helpful

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An important read, just not on Audible

Grisel shares her own very personal story and an incredible wealth of neuroscience in a way that is accessible and meaningful. She is unflinchingly honest about the nature of addiction. She offers no magical cure but deep insight into how to humanely address addiction. Everyone should read this book.
My only critique is that her voice is soft and slow, making the content feel uninteresting at times. Also, the text is very heavy and complicated. I would highly reccomend the Kindle or paper version so one can really examine the text.

3 people found this helpful

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Absolutely enthralling!

This is a must read for anyone struggling with addiction or anyone who knows someone that is. This is the most comprehensive book explaining addiction that I have ever come across. This is a game changer!

3 people found this helpful

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A Great Work on Addiction

Drug addiction has gotten a lot more attention these days as the image of victims has morphed from inner city homeless people to grandmothers who have had trouble weaning themselves off of post-operative medication. This book is enlightening for those who have not known an addict. Judith Grisel is the perfect author to write this book: a neuroscientist with a decade of personal addiction.

She frames the problem in stark terms: a) 16% of Americans over the age of twelve have an addiction problem b) a quarter of deaths are attributable to drugs c) drug treatment consumes a tenth of all healthcare spending (or twice as much as what we spend on cancer) d) there has been little improvement in treatment e) and only 10% of intervention is successful.

The main culprits that lead to the disease are having a genetic predisposition, exposure (and even worse from puberty to adulthood), and a catalyzing environment. The genetic component is interesting as she uses the example that Asians who get flush are less likely to be alcoholics and smokers who tend to absorb more nicotine smoke less.

Grisel explores different classes of drugs and what you find is the common thread that there is no gain without a later, equal loss. As far back as Socrates, this interplay of pleasure and pain has been well known. For each high, you pay it back with low or as the Grateful Dead put it, "Too much is never enough."

She imparts such interesting facts such as:
- Valium in the 1970's was used by one in five women and sent more people to the hospital than all other illicit drugs
- The doctors who discovered barbiturates died of overdoses themselves
- In 2010, the of alcohol (in poor health, drunk driving, crime) was 249 billion
- Kat production uses up 40% of Yemen's water supply
- Since ecstasy, unlike cocaine, effects transporters and not receptors, addicts are never the same regardless of how long they have been clean

Paraphrasing Grisel in her summation of the range of drugs:  Alcohol and downers are negatively reinforcing because they reduce anxiety, Opiates reduce suffering, Stimulants reduce boredom. People tend to abuse those drugs that compliment themselves (such as the anxious who prefer alcohol) but also someone who is nervous who drinks to self medicate will become nervous.  

I wish there was an optimistic conclusion but by the end of reading this I was worried that my own daily coffee habit had impaired my natural ability to awaken. Dependence is hard to overcome. Grisel recounts the story of her sharing a crack pipe with a toothless, homeless person who was deluded into thinking he was on top of the world. Ultimately, it was not jail or seeing her friends dying but rather her reconnection with her father that led to her recovery. She herself advises decreasing the drug's dosage, supplying palliative medicine for the inevitable withdrawal, and creating a support network. She points out that addicts naturally posses what are typically beneficial traits, like being heterodox, strong-willed and persistent. These traits certainly are apparent in this excellent scientist's work.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I am a physician - found the story engaging, the science fascinating and well explained. I have always tried to have compassion for people with addiction. Reading this book has
Given me additional insight, and has helped me become even more compassionate. The personal revelations are bravely bared. Very impressive.

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Up-to-date and informative

The story is amazing but true. Some of the terminology I struggled with but the basic idea she gets across through many examples. It is amazing this girl is alive but it's incredible that she survived and secured a PhD

2 people found this helpful

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Very worthwhile and comprehensive book, from chocolate to heroin

This book is informative and interesting especially to a fellow addict. It does a good job of examining practical questions and giving in-depth answers that acknowledge a lack of certainty, I appreciated the complexity and lack of pigeon holing in the author’s conclusions. Her personal experience added a lot to the book, I could relate to her way of seeing addiction and why we do what we do.

Objectively researched and presented but put in a personal perspective that was effective. I liked it and want to listen to it again to ponder it some more. The ending conclusions clarified and elaborated on how I tend to view addiction.

A professional narrator may have been a better choice for audio version or some coaching on making it less low energy voice.

1 person found this helpful

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Great research into an uncomfortable topic

Never Enough outlines the mechanics and dangers of the most common drugs. Despite the fact that this book very much should have used a narrator other than the author, it's a worthwhile listen which I highly recommend. I especially appreciated her analysis of pot, showing that while it's not the devil plant of early propaganda, it's also far from being benign or harmless.

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homerun

fully loaded with information about most of the questions I have been wondering about. I am reading it for the second time.

1 person found this helpful