Neurobiology of addiction: An integrative review


Evidence that psychoactive substance use disorders, bulimia nervosa, pathological gambling, and sexual addiction share an underlying biopsychological process is summarized. Definitions are offered for addiction and addictive process, the latter being the proposed designation for the underlying biopsychological process that addictive disorders are hypothesized to share. The addictive process is introduced as an interaction of impairments in three functional systems: motivation-reward, affect regulation, and behavioral inhibition. An integrative review of the literature that addresses the neurobiology of addiction is then presented, organized according to the three functional systems that constitute the addictive process. The review is directed toward identifying candidate neurochemical substrates for the impairments in motivation-reward, affect regulation, and behavioral inhibition that could contribute to an addictive process.

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