The Biology of Drug Addiction

  • Scott J. Russo
  • Colleen A. McClung


Drug addiction is a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Often, addiction to illicit drugs accompanies other types of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, and the use of drugs can severely worsen these conditions. Drug use becomes classified as addiction when there is a loss of control of drug intake, resulting in negative consequences. These consequences can be health related but also include the loss of employment, family, and friends. In addition, individuals can become addicted to other activities such as gambling, shopping, or sexual activity, which can also lead to devastating consequences. Drug dependence is defined by the development of tolerance to the drug, as well as the presentation of physical withdrawal symptoms when drug use ceases. Addiction and dependence often go hand in hand, but an individual may be dependent on a drug (such as caffeine) and not necessarily show signs of addiction. In turn,...


Opioid Receptor Ventral Tegmental Area Conditioned Place Preference Drug Addiction Corticosterone Release Factor 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott J. Russo
    • 1
  • Colleen A. McClung
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Center for Basic NeuroscienceUT Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Center for Basic NeuroscienceUT Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA

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