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Individual differences in the neuropsychopathology of addiction


Drug addiction or substance-use disorder is a chronically relapsing disorder that progresses through binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative affect and preoccupation/anticipation stages. These stages represent diverse neurobiological mechanisms that are differentially involved in the transition from recreational to compulsive drug use and from positive to negative reinforcement. The progression from recreational to compulsive substance use is associated with downregulation of the brain reward systems and upregulation of the brain stress systems. Individual differences in the neurobiological systems that underlie the processing of reward, incentive salience, habits, stress, pain, and executive function may explain (i) the vulnerability to substance-use disorder; (ii) the diversity of emotional, motivational, and cognitive profiles of individuals with substance-use disorders; and (iii) heterogeneous responses to cognitive and pharmacological treatments. Characterization of the neuropsychological mechanisms that underlie individual differences in addiction-like behaviors is the key to understanding the mechanisms of addiction and development of personalized pharmacotherapy.

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