Why Are Drugs Abused By Humans? (2005)

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An easy to read presentation of a talk given by Nora Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2005. She addresses neurochemical changes in people who are addicted and questions the relative contributions of chronic drug exposure, effects of genes that predispose persons to become addicted and/or effects of the environment that facilitate the translation of addiction. Read it online at the Psychiatric Times website.Psychiatric Times May 2005; XXII (2).

The Neural Basis of Addiction: A Pathology of Motivation and Choice (2005)

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For the motivated physician who desires an overview of neural-cellular adaptation that occurs with addiction. Comprehensive and dense. The authors, Peter W. Kalivas, Ph.D. and Nora D. Volkow, M.D., provide a wonderful, albeit complex, overview of the brain pathways involved in motivation, reward and the initiation of addiction. Includes presentation of cellular adaptations associated with addiction. Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162:1403-1413.

Neuroscience of Addiction (1998)

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This paper by George F. Koob and Floyd E. Bloom which appeared in Neuron explains some of the neurobiology of addiction, focusing on the disruption to the stress hormones. They discuss animal models for reward, sensitization, motivation, withdrawal, craving and relapse. One of several examples of the research base that informs our daily work in addiction treatment and form a powerful argument for stability and balance as a therapeutic goal. Neuron 1998; 21:467-476.

In Search of How People Change: Applications to Addictive Behaviors (1992)

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This paper by James Prochaska et. al. studies the process by which people intentionally change their behavior, with and without treatment interventions, and develops the key concept of stages of change, which is the basis for many current psychosocial approaches to addiction. It models an integrative approach across several theoretical frameworks, and provides a way of seeing patient behavior as a continuous process toward change, including relapse as part of this cycling and recovery as maintenance of change. It argues for a tailoring of intervention according to stage. Am Psychol 1992; 47(9):1102-1114

Drug Abuse: Hedonic Homeostatic Dysregulation (1997)

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Research by George F. Koob and Michel Le Moal published in Science which explains some of the neurobiology of addiction, focusing on the disruption to the stress hormones. They discuss animal models for reward, sensitization, motivation, withdrawal, craving and relapse. This paper is one of several examples of the research base that informs our daily work in addiction treatment and form a powerful argument for stability and balance as a therapeutic goal. Science 1997; 278:275-281.

Addiction: A Disease of Learning and Memory (2005)

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For the motivated physician who wishes to understand the neurobiology of addiction. The author, Steven E. Hyman, M.D., presents evidence that addiction represents a pathological usurpation or hijacking of neural mechanism of learning and memory. Highly recommended for those interested in learning Dopamine’s importance in addiction, “liking,” “wanting,” and assignment of “incentive salience” to reward and reward related cues. Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162:1414-1422.
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