Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 14–24

Traits and Biomarkers for Addiction Risk in Schizophrenia

Dual Diagnosis (A Chambers, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s40429-017-0130-6

Cite this article as:
Kozak, K., Barr, M.S. & George, T.P. Curr Addict Rep (2017) 4: 14. doi:10.1007/s40429-017-0130-6
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 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • 115145

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
  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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