Behavioral Neurobiology of Alcohol Addiction: Recent Advances and Challenges
Friedbert Weiss1 and Linda J. Porrino2
1 Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, and 2 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1083
Addictive behavior associated with alcoholism is characterized by compulsive preoccupation with obtaining alcohol, loss of control over consumption, and development of tolerance and dependence, as well as impaired social and occupational functioning. Like other addictive disorders, alcoholism is characterized by chronic vulnerability to relapse after cessation of drinking. To understand the factors that compel some individuals to drink excessively, alcohol research has focused on the identification of brain mechanisms that support the reinforcing actions of alcohol and the progression of changes in neural function induced by chronic ethanol consumption that lead to the development of dependence. More recently, increasing attention has been directed toward the understanding of neurobiological and environmental factors in susceptibility to relapse.
Source: The Journal of Neuroscience, 22(9):3332-3337, May 2002