The following is a list of books we have selected that will help you understand the neuroscience of addiction and recovery. 

The Brain that Changes Itself

“The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge gets into the remarkable concept of neuroplasticity — the brain’s capacity to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.

Through engaging case studies, Doidge explores the science behind the brain’s adaptability, shedding light on how brains can heal and change.

The book is particularly appealing for those of us seeking to understand the neurological facets of addiction, offering valuable insight into how destructive habits can be rewired, and healthier, recovery-oriented patterns can be established.

“Plasticity is a property of all brains… and it allows us to change ours, a hopeful fact.”


  • Original Date of Publication: 2007
  • Author: Norman Doidge
  • Number of Pages: 427

Biology of Desire


“The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease” by Marc Lewis challenges the common perception of addiction as a medical condition, suggesting it’s more about the brain’s adaptability and learning process.

Through the life stories of people who’ve experienced addiction, Lewis provides a deep dive into how the brain’s circuitry changes in response to substance abuse and how those changes can drive addictive behavior.

His insights lend a new perspective to the neuroscience of addiction, focusing on the brain’s plasticity and its potential to restructure and recover.

“Addiction isn’t about substance – you aren’t addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.”


  • Original Date of Publication: 2015
  • Author: Marc Lewis
  • Number of Pages: 256

Never Enough

In “Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction,” Judith Grisel offers an exploration of the neuroscience behind addiction.

As a neuroscientist and former drug addicted person, Grisel draws on her personal experiences and scientific expertise to illuminate how various substances affect the brain and contribute to addiction.

Her unique perspective makes complex neurological concepts accessible to anyone seeking to understand the science of addiction and recovery, offering profound insights into why it’s so difficult to quit and what can be done to promote healing.

“If we can’t manage to bring our evolved brains along, to ensure that reason, rather than desire, will guide our future actions, then our goose is cooked.”

  • Original Date of Publication: 2019
  • Author: Judith Grisel
  • Number of Pages: 256

Dopamine Nation

“Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence” by Dr. Anna Lembke presents a compelling examination of our modern world’s obsession with overconsumption, from digital devices to drugs, and how this indulgence is leading us down a path of addiction.

Dr. Lembke, a well-known addiction psychiatrist, describes how our brains are wired for pleasure and how our society’s incessant quest for instant gratification can disrupt the delicate balance of our dopamine system.

This book blends case studies from her clinic, her personal experiences, and the latest science of addiction to offer insights into managing our desires and achieving a state of balance.

“In a dopamine-saturated world, abstaining becomes the radical act. The challenge is to sit still and embrace our existential condition without rushing to consume something to numb it.”


  • Original Date of Publication: 2021
  • Author: Dr. Anna Lembke
  • Number of Pages: 320

The Body Keeps the Score

“The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk dives straight into how trauma can reshape both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.

Van der Kolk uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.

This absolute must-read exploration of trauma provides a new understanding of what it means to be human, the interconnectedness of mind and body, and how the imprints of trauma can be addressed through radical and innovative treatments.

“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”


  • Original Date of Publication: September 25, 2014
  • Author: Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
  • Number of Pages: 464

The Mind-Gut Connection

“Mind Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health” by Emeran Mayer demystifies the complex bidirectional communication system that is the brain-gut axis.

Mayer clarifies how our brain and gut work together, affecting our mood and immune system.

This book bridges the gap between science and practical advice, presenting an in-depth look at the intricate relationship between our mind and our gut, with insights into diet, microbiota, and how understanding this connection can improve our overall health.

“In the end, the best health advice is always going to be to listen to your body – it’s smarter than you are.”


  • Original Date of Publication: July 5, 2016
  • Author: Emeran Mayer
  • Number of Pages: 320

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