Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 421–433 | Cite as

Behavioral and neurochemical commonalities in addiction

  • Stanley G. Sunderwirth
  • Harvey Milkman


Individuals involved in compulsive activities as different as sex, drugs, eating, crime and gambling exhibit remarkably similar behaviors with regard to their addiction. The authors apply a unified model of addiction which relates these behavioral similarities to manifestations of altered neurochemistry in that portion of the limbic system responsible for reward. Certain individuals whose genetic or environmental situation creates a deficit of dopamine in the reward system are prone to anxiety, craving and general lack of feelings of well-being. In order to satiate these feelings, they may engage in any number of activities or drugs which temporarily restores dopamine neurotransmission.


Dopamine Health Psychology Social Issue Unify Model Limbic System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley G. Sunderwirth
    • 1
  • Harvey Milkman
    • 2
  1. 1.Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis/Columbus CampusUSA
  2. 2.Metropolitan State CollegeDenver

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