Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 14–24 | Cite as

Traits and Biomarkers for Addiction Risk in Schizophrenia

  • Karolina Kozak
  • Mera S. Barr
  • Tony P. GeorgeEmail author
Dual Diagnosis (A Chambers, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Dual Diagnosis



The most common addictions in schizophrenia include tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, stimulants/recreational drugs, and gambling. This review discusses the multifactorial risk factors for addictions in people with schizophrenia.


Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain addiction comorbidity in schizophrenia, and potential biomarkers conferring addiction risk in patients have been identified (e.g., catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT1), cortical inhibition, working memory). Neurotransmitter systems including dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic pathways are associated with the pathophysiology of both schizophrenia and addictions.


Developing effective treatments for schizophrenia and comorbid addictions is warranted and should involve further studies of neurobiological underpinnings of addiction risk in schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia Addiction risk Substance use disorders Tobacco/nicotine Cannabis Alcohol Stimulants Problem gambling 



This manuscript was support by an Institute of Medical Sciences Graduate Fellowship from the University of Toronto (to Ms. Kozak) and CIHR Operating Grant MOP#115145 (to Dr. George).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Karolina Kozak, Dr. Mera S. Barr, and Dr. Tony P. George declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as:• Of importance•• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karolina Kozak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mera S. Barr
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tony P. George
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Addictions DivisionCentre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Medical SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Division of Brain and Therapeutics, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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