From a renowned behavioural neuroscientist and recovering addict, a rare, page-turning work of science that draws on personal insights to reveal how drugs work, the dangerous hold they can take on the brain, and a 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 twenty-five 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 learns the science behind the love of various drugs, from marijuana to alcohol, opiates to psychedelics, speed to spice.
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 behaviour 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 colour, candour, and bell-clear writing, Never Enough is a revelatory look at the roles drugs play in all of our lives. It offers crucial new insights into how we can solve the epidemic of abuse.
‘Grisel's account of her wayward early 20s, chasing one high after another, is harrowing … She writes clearly and unsparingly about both her experiences and the science of addiction — tobacco and caffeine figure in, as well — making plain that there is still much that remains unknown or mysterious about the brain's workings. In the end, she notes, much of our present culture, which shuns pain and favors avoidance, is made up of 'tools of addiction.' Illuminating reading for those seeking to understand the whos, hows, and wherefores of getting hooked.’
View all reviews
‘Many scientists write about addiction, but how many are former addicts? Psychology professor Grisel mixes coverage of brain research with the warts-and-all story of her addictions, beginning with alcohol in seventh grade and progressing to marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and IV drug use … Powerful stuff’
‘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 of American Society of Addiction Medicine
‘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 of Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology, UCLA
‘Grisel, a behavioural neuroscientist and Bucknell psychology professor, examines the complexities of addiction in this personal account of a decade of substance abuse … Weaving anecdotes of her ordeal — some funny, others embarrassing — with basic brain science, she explains how drugs work, why some are more effective than others, and how addicts differ from non-addicts.’
‘With knowledge and compassion, Grisel's work straddles two worlds — that of scientists and former addicts, and is recommended for anyone interesting in furthering their understanding of addiction.’
‘A timely, educational blend of neuroscience and memoir … Now a professor and scientist, Grisel is a compassionate and empathetic guide to the hard science behind drug use.’
‘In this book, she explores the effects of drugs and why some people become addicted. She hopes to contribute to a path for freedom from addiction and to help loved ones, carers and policy makers make more informed choices.’
Andrea Ripper, Courier Mail
‘A gripping memoir about the real cost of getting high.’
Leaf Arbuthnot, The Times
‘With compassion and clarity, Grisel 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.’
‘A collision of the personal and professional.’
Rebecca Schiller, The Observer
‘If you want to know why the drugs don’t work (or at least not for long), this is the one for you … Judith Grisel communicates complex brain science clearly and engagingly.’
Ella Walker, The Herald
‘A superb book.’
William Leith, The Evening Standard
Robin Osborne, GPSpeak