Unbalanced neuronal circuits in addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, United States. Electronic address: .
Current opinion in neurobiology (Impact Factor: 6.63). 02/2013; 23(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.002
Source: PubMed


Through sequential waves of drug-induced neurochemical stimulation, addiction co-opts the brain's neuronal circuits that mediate reward, motivation to behavioral inflexibility and a severe disruption of self-control and compulsive drug intake. Brain imaging technologies have allowed neuroscientists to map out the neural landscape of addiction in the human brain and to understand how drugs modify it.

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    • "According to these researchers, the 'paradox of addiction' could be explained by neurobiological disruptions or cognitive biases in brain regions important to the motivational, reward and inhibitory control processes (Koob, 2013; Volkow et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Substance use disorders (SUD) are associated with several neurobiological disruptions, including biases in attention and approach/avoidance behaviour. The aims of this study were to compare the strength of cognitive biases between light and problematic drinkers, to explore the role of IQ on the cognitive biases and to study the psychometric qualities of the measures. Method: Participants (N = 130) were divided into four groups based on IQ and severity of alcohol use-related problems: light (n = 28) and problematic drinkers (n = 25) with (sub)average IQ and light (n = 33) and problematic drinkers (n = 44) with mild to borderline intellectual disability (MBID). All participants performed the visual dot probe task and the approach avoidance task to measure the strength of cognitive biases. Results: In contrast with the hypothesis, no cognitive biases were found in problematic drinkers. Full scale IQ nor level of craving influenced the strength of the cognitive biases in light and problematic drinkers, although IQ did influence task performance (i.e. large intra-individual, trial-to-trial variation in reaction time). The internal consistency of the visual dot probe task was good, whereas the internal consistency of the approach avoidance task was poor. Conclusion: Cognitive biases seem to vary within the group of problematic drinkers as a whole. The psychometric qualities of the measures are problematic, especially in relation to the intra-individual variability in reaction time found in participants with MBID. Until the implications of this variability on the validity of implicit measures and establishing bias scores are more clear, the use of these measures in individuals with MBID calls for scrutiny.
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    • "What's more, its involvement in inhibitory control is regarded as a key role in drug seeking behaviors (Feil et al. 2010). Projections from several PFC regions such as the ACC, OFC and DLPFC to the striatum, passing through the pallidum and thalamus, constitute the prefrontalstriatal circuits, which are related to cognitive inhibitory control and stimulus–response habits (Volkow et al. 2013; Kober et al. 2010). Dysfunction of these circuits may be a possible underlying mechanism of addicted behaviors such as impaired inhibition-control and compulsive use despite the negative outcomes, which have been reported in subjects with IGD (Dong et al. 2010; Young 1998b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) among adolescents has become an important public concern and gained more and more attention internationally. Recent studies focused on IGD and revealed brain abnormalities in the IGD group, especially the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, the role of PFC-striatal circuits in pathology of IGD remains unknown. Twenty-five adolescents with IGD and 21 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were recruited in our study. Voxel-based morphometric (VBM) and functional connectivity analysis were employed to investigate the abnormal structural and resting-state properties of several frontal regions in individuals with online gaming addiction. Relative to healthy comparison subjects, IGD subjects showed significant decreased gray matter volume in PFC regions including the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the right supplementary motor area (SMA) after controlling for age and gender effects. We chose these regions as the seeding areas for the resting-state analysis and found that IGD subjects showed decreased functional connectivity between several cortical regions and our seeds, including the insula, and temporal and occipital cortices. Moreover, significant decreased functional connectivity between some important subcortical regions, i.e., dorsal striatum, pallidum, and thalamus, and our seeds were found in the IGD group and some of those changes were associated with the severity of IGD. Our results revealed the involvement of several PFC regions and related PFC-striatal circuits in the process of IGD and suggested IGD may share similar neural mechanisms with substance dependence at the circuit level.
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    • "These dopamine spikes are thought to become hyper-salient incentive cues that elicit the phenomenon of 'wanting' (Berridge 2007), and dwarf the reward value of other occupational activities. These underpinnings are thought to account for the observed behaviour (participation in the addiction at the expense of engaging in other occupational responsibilities) of people with addictions (Volkow et al 2013). Attempts to abstain from the addictive behaviour are thwarted due to a number of neurobiological changes affecting dopamine transmission and other related neuronal processes (Koob and Le Moal 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Despite advances in addiction research and practice, addiction remains a significant public health problem with strikingly high relapse rates and low treatment retention rates. This study explored whether the concept of addiction-as-occupation aligned with the experiences of ten persons with addiction(s), and suggests that further development of a model based on this concept may help to elucidate and address some barriers to addiction recovery services.Methods: Semi-structured interviews were performed to gain descriptions of the occupational lives and first-hand experiences of ten persons with addiction(s). Transcripts were analysed using a qualitative thematic analysis methodology.Results: Seven themes were identified in the data: connection, locus of control, penetration, habituation, identity, motivation, and coping/escape. Participants in this study described their addictions using occupational terms, and addressed both the gains and harms of performing their addictions.Conclusion: Further investigation of experiences of addiction-as-occupation could be useful for informing occupational therapy interventions for substancerelated and addictive disorders. Potential implications and contributions of a conceptual model based on the notion of addiction-as-occupation, as well as areas for future research, are discussed.
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