Addiction Academic Article uri icon


  • Drug and alcohol addiction is a debilitating disorder characterized by persistent drug-seeking behaviors despite negative physiological, medical, or social consequences. Neurobiological models of addiction propose that the reinforcing effects of addictive drugs are associated with altered neurotransmission within the reward 'mesocorticolimbic' circuitry in the brain. Immense efforts are therefore designed to target the mesocorticolimbic circuitry in attenuating drug dependence and addiction-related behaviors. Yet, to date, most addiction treatments have demonstrated only limited success in reducing addiction-related behaviors. Accumulating and compelling evidence suggests that novel nonsurgical brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation, could serve as promising tools for indexing altered neurotransmission associated with repetitive drug use, and moreover, may hold therapeutic potential for the treatment of drug dependence and addiction-related behaviors. This chapter reviews and discusses the current and potential applications of such techniques in the study and treatment of addiction; we focus on a number of common drugs of abuse, including nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, and ecstasy.

publication date

  • October 11, 2013