Carl Erik Fisher: Our History of Addiction


Carl Erik Fisher

Dr. Carl Erik Fisher is an addiction psychiatrist, bioethicist, and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, who understands addiction in a deeply personal way. At 29 he was a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school when his own addiction crisis nearly cost him everything. Desperate to make sense of the condition that had plagued him and his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction.

In his new book, The Urge, Carl makes an important intervention into this conversation by showing us how addiction has come to be deeply misunderstood and stigmatized in our times, despite being profoundly ordinary across recorded history, and how an honest reckoning with our past successes and failures with addiction can light a better way forward. 

We talk about…

  • Why trying to trace addiction to one single cause can be misleading
  • Why people keep using despite wanting to stop
  • How Freud championed cocaine as a “wonder drug” 
  • Why trying to eradicate addiction causes harm
  • Cultures permissive attitude towards alcohol
  • Why we need to get curious about the role our addiction plays in helping us cope with pain
  • The role corporations play in the way people think about addiction
  • Why holding onto diagnostic labels too tightly can become more harmful than helpful
  • Why we should be careful with psychedelics

More from Carl Erik Fisher…

Visit his website

Buy his book, The Urge

Listen to his Podcast, Flourishing After Addiction

Goodies from today's episode…

Toss the toxins today and save $10 off your Branch Basics order when you click here.

If you loved this episode, be sure to listen to Episode 62: End the War on Drugs for Good With Christina Dent

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