The pursuit of pleasure at the expense of happiness

In this fascinating interview, Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, talks about his book “The Hacking of the American Mind” and his theory that one of the causes of our mental (and physical) health epidemic is that we have been primed to confuse pleasure (which is linked to the dopamine neurotransmitter) with happiness (which is linked to the serotonin neurotransmitter). This confusion is encouraged and leveraged by corporations to sell us dopamine-triggering pleasure (sex, sugar, alcohol, drugs, video games, shopping, etc.) with the promise of “happiness”, when in fact high levels of dopamine can down-regulate serotonin, making us less able to experience long-term happiness.