Addiction as an adaptation process in the brain, a view from neurobiology

Esa R. Korpi


Korpi, E. (2015). Addiction as an adaptation process in the brain, a view from neurobiology. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 4(1), 91-94. doi:

Research on the brain mechanisms of dependence on alcohol and drugs of abuse has rapidly advanced during the last two decades. We know the main processes, especially how the drugs are acting on their targets on brain cells, but this basic knowledge has not been well translated to better therapies. Not surprisingly, neurobiological addiction research is tackling the same fundamental questions as all neuropsychiatric research. For example, what are the roles of individual neuronal populations in different phases of addiction (development, maintenance, craving and compulsion, abstinence and relapse)? For preclinical research, novel neurogenetic methods now show great promise to answer at least some of the questions, but more innovative work is required to build models and find mechanisms for social and environmental interactions in addiction and to translate the inventions to clinical therapies. Addiction as a disease concept still gives a proper framework for this line of important research.


brain research; addictive drugs; reward pathways; disease models

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