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31 - Molecular imaging of substance abuse

from Section V - Substance Abuse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2011

Brian C. Schweinsburg
Department of Psychiatry Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA
Alecia D. Dager Schweinsburg
Department of Psychiatry Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA
Graeme F. Mason
Department of Psychiatry and Department of Diagnostic Radiology Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA
Martha E. Shenton
VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Bruce I. Turetsky
University of Pennsylvania
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The use of substances for psychoactive effects dates to antiquity with evidence in archaeological finds of alcohol-related intoxication and possibly ritualistic use of Nymphaea caerulea in ancient Egypt and alcohol abuse in classic Greek and Roman culture. While a variety of legal and illicit substances are used for their mind-altering effects, the misuse of drugs and alcohol can result in a constellation of behavioral and physiologic consequences that comprise addiction, which is often considered to be a cyclic process associated with chronic relapse. Koob and Le Moal (2001) outlined a continuum of allostasis to pathology as an individual experiences the rewarding properties of drugs, transitions to dependence, develops addiction, and enters periods of protracted abstinence. Circuitry including cortical–thalamo-striatal loops, the reward system, and stress system contribute to a reward system allostatic state that reflects long-term deviation from normal brain states that ultimately can lead to pathologic change (Koob and Le Moal, 2001). While there are a number of potential individual and environmental differences associated with vulnerabilities in the transition to drug and alcohol-related brain pathology (allostatic load), a core neurobiological feature of the continuum is altered neurochemistry among neural pathways.

Understanding Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Insights from Neuroimaging
, pp. 446 - 462
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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