Executive dysfunction in addiction


Executive dysfunction has been increasingly recognized in addiction. In fact, it has been estimated that 50-80% of individuals suffering from addiction exhibit some type of executive dysfunction (Bates, Pawlak, Tonigan, and Buckman, 2006). These patterns of impairment may interfere with many therapeutic approaches to addiction. As such, understanding these skills, the ways that they, may be impaired in addicted individuals, and the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for their execution may be an important step towards improving addiction treatment. In the current chapter we will review executive dysfunction in addiction (i.e., drug addiction, pathological gambling, and obesity). First, prevalent approaches to executive function from both outside and within the addiction research literature will be examined. Second, a comprehensive approach to executive function, which accounts for the skills emphasized in previous conceptualizations and for the patterns of dysfunction seen in addiction, will be synthesized (Bickel etal., 2012). Third, these executive functions and their prevalence in addiction will be considered. In doing so, the approaches to measuring these skills, and their neurobiological underpinning, will be considered. Lastly, some directions for future research will be discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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