In the third season of Bill Nye Saves the World, scientist-turned-television personality Bill Nye continues to make the science of daily life bingeable. In the third episode of six, Nye discusses one of America’s not-so-silent killers – addiction – in “The Addiction Episode.” I can admit this one was less entertaining than the others because addiction has touched my family the way it has many of yours, but Nye tackles the topic with grace and gets to the science and psychology of addiction.

Nye starts by describing what addiction is and how it works:

  • Addiction – “The compulsive use of a substance or a compulsive behavior that harms you”
  • Dopamine is triggered in the reward-centers of the brain, affects the part of the brain that controls decision-making
  • Your brain begins to change by adapting to over-stimulation
  • The addicted individual no longer feeds the addiction to feel good but “not to feel bad

Special guest Maria Bamford of the show Lady Dynamite discusses addiction in combination with mental illness and a panel of experts is assembled to discuss the necessity of “skilled diagnosis” of why individuals meet the criteria for addiction. They describe the issue of co-illnesses like addiction and mental or physical illness and the effect of incareration and addiction levels of low-level crime offenders.

The episode’s high note ( . . . .) is the depiction of scientist who deserves to be angry – Albert Niemann depicted by Michael Ian Black – who invented both cocaine and mustard gas and died at 26.


Check back next week for a recap and review of episode four: “Recipes From the Future” where Bill Nye will teach us something about what we’re going to eat as a species in order to get to the future and keep on getting. 

Photo Source: Bill Nye Saves the World on NETFLIX

Photo Source: Bill Nye Saves the World on NETFLIX screenshot by Crystal Spears from The Game of Nerds