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NIDA

The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction

5: Addiction

Addiction

Now that you have defined the concept of reward, you can define addiction. Addiction is a state in which an organism engages in a compulsive behavior, even when faced with negative consequences. This behavior is reinforcing, or rewarding, as you have just discussed. A major feature of addiction is the loss of control in limiting intake of the addictive substance. The most recent research indicates that the reward pathway may be even more important in the craving associated with addiction, compared to the reward itself. Scientists have learned a great deal about the biochemical, cellular, and molecular bases of addiction; it is clear that addiction is a disease of the brain. State that you will provide two examples of the interaction between drugs that are addictive, their cellular targets in the brain, and the reward pathway.

This page was last updated January 2007

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NIDA Notes: The Latest in Drug Abuse Research

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