A Virtual Conversation with Dr. Carl Erik Fisher, Author of The Urge: Our History of Addiction
Tuesday, February 8, at 12 PM EST
Science Writers in New York is pleased to present Carl Erik Fisher, MD (@DrCarlErik), bioethicist, addiction psychiatrist, and assistant professor at Columbia University. He will talk to SWINY co-chair David Levine (@dlloydlevine) about his new book The Urge: Our History of Addiction (January 25, 2022, Penguin Press).
In writing the book, Dr. Fisher draws on his own experience as a clinician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery to trace the history of this phenomenon that’s troubled us for centuries, yet we hardly appear closer to understanding. At age 29, as a newly minted psychiatrist-in-training from Columbia University, Dr. Fisher suddenly found himself being checked into Bellevue Hospital as a psychiatric patient himself, after suffering a breakdown related to alcoholism and Adderall addiction. This turning point had been a long time coming. As a child, he struggled to understand the behavior of his alcoholic parents, then he lingered in denial about his own addiction throughout college and medical school. His firsthand experiences in rehab and recovery led him to question the breakdown of our system of treatment.
The Urge shows how humans have struggled to define, treat, and control addiction for most of recorded history, well before the advent of modern science and medicine. Encompassing the ancient Greeks, Buddha, and Augustine onward through Prohibition, the War on Drugs, and the 21st century researchers, politicians, writers, and activists who have reckoned with addictive behavior, Dr. Fisher illuminates how the story of addiction has reflected a broader question of what it means to be human and care for one another. The Urge combines an eye-opening history of ideas with the author’s own personal story of addiction and recovery. It is an urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced, and compassionate view of one of the most intractable challenges we face today.
About Dr. Carl Erik Fisher
Carl Erik Fisher is an addiction physician and bioethicist. He is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University’s Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry. He also maintains a private psychiatry practice focused on addiction. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Nautilus, Slate, and Scientific American Mind. He also is the host of the Flourishing After Addiction podcast, a deep-dive interview series exploring addiction and recovery.
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Tuesday, February 8
12 to 1 pm EST