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Conversation with Stanford Psychiatrist Anna Lembke, MD

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Dr. Anna Lembke is our guest today — and trust me — you don’t want to miss this one! We discuss benzodiazepine tapering, substitution, the dopamine cycle, flumazenil, anxiety, social media, finding a doctor and so much more.

Anna Lembke, MD is professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and an internationally recognized leader in addiction medicine, treatment, and education. A best-selling author, she has also testified before both the U.S. House and Senate and appeared in the Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma.”

Video ID: BFP110


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0:01:55 Benzos & Surgery Update

0:03:25 PROTECT Study

0:04:35 FEATURE: Dr. Anna Lembke

0:05:28 Dr. Lembke’s Bio

0:06:54 Welcome / About Dr. Lembke

0:09:32 Deprescribing Clinics

0:10:53 Learning from Addiction Medicine

0:12:17 The Bravo Protocol

0:13:37 The Ashton Manual

0:14:59 Benzo Horror Stories

0:15:50 The Dopamine Cycle

0:19:45 Addiction vs. Dependence

0:21:59 Is Benzo Withdrawal Unique?

0:24:52 When Did You Become Concerned?

0:26:40 Changes in Prescribing Practices

0:29:15 Increasing Rates of Anxiety

0:30:24 Drugifying Human Behaviors

0:31:28 Digital Device Addiction

0:34:59 Reinforcing Negative Experiences

0:38:37 Mindfulness / Expectations

0:41:49 Finding Acceptance

0:43:48 How Do You Taper Your Patients?

0:46:48 Substitution vs. Direct Taper

0:49:57 Dosing Schedule / Flexibility

0:52:06 Stabilizing Before Tapering

0:54:31 Finding a Doctor You Can Trust

0:56:04 You Make a Difference as a Patient

0:56:53 Flumazenil and Other Treatments

1:00:33 Benzos and the Elderly

1:02:24 The Danger of Designer Benzos

1:03:59 What are Benzos Good For?

1:05:31 Benzos for Medical Procedures

1:07:32 Final Words for the Patient

1:09:10 CLOSING


BIO for Dr. Anna Lembke

Anna Lembke, MD is professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. A clinician scholar, she is the author of more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications, has testified before the United States House of Representatives and Senate, has served as an expert witness in federal and state opioid litigation, and is an internationally recognized leader in addiction medicine treatment and education.

In 2016, Anna published “Drug Dealer, MD – How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), highlighted in the New York Times as one of the top five books to read to understand the opioid epidemic (Zuger, 2018). Dr. Lembke appeared in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” an unvarnished look at the impact of social media on our lives. Her latest book, “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence” (Dutton/Penguin Random House, August 2021) was an instant New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and explores how to moderate compulsive overconsumption in a dopamine-overloaded world.



The following resource links are provided as a courtesy to our listeners. They do not constitute an endorsement by Easing Anxiety of the resource or any recommendations or advice provided therein.

RESOURCES for Anna Lembke, MD

WEBSITE PROFILE: Stanford University BOOK: “Drug Dealer, MD” BOOK: “Dopamine Nation” VIDEO: “Benzodiazepines: The Hidden Epidemic” VIDEO: “Benzodiazepines: Dependence and Withdrawal” VIDEO: “Benzodiazepine Tolerance: An Adverse Medical Event” BRAVO! A Collaborative Approach to Opioid Tapering


The Podcast

The Benzo Free Podcast provides information, support, and community to those who struggle with the long-term effects of anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium) and Z-drugs (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata).


All content provided by Easing Anxiety is for general informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. Any health-related information provided is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems, or to prescribe any medical devices or other remedies. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it. Please visit our website for our complete disclaimer at


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Benzo Free Theme

— Title: “Walk in the Park”

— Artist: Neil Cross


Easing Anxiety is produced by…

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