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Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00877

A Roadmap for Integrating Neuroscience into Addiction Treatment: A Consensus of the Neuroscience Interest Group of the International Society of Addiction Medicine

  • 1Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Australia
  • 2School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Australia
  • 3Independent researcher, Australia
  • 4Eastern Health Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia
  • 5School of Medicine, College of Health and Medicine, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • 6Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 7Department of psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, United States
  • 8School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
  • 9Department of Kinesiology and Health, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States
  • 10Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 11University Hospital Brugmann, Belgium
  • 12Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
  • 13Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom
  • 14DVA Medical Center and Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, United States
  • 15School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia
  • 16Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute for Cognitive Science Studies, Iran
  • 17Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), Iran
  • 18Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, Iran
  • 19Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, United States
  • 20University of Dundee, United Kingdom
  • 21Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, United States
  • 22Laureate Institute for Brain Research, United States

Although there is general consensus that altered brain structure and function underpins addictive disorders, clinicians working in addiction treatment rarely incorporate neuroscience-informed approaches into their practice. We recently launched the Neuroscience Interest Group within the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM-NIG) to promote initiatives to bridge this gap. This article summarises the ISAM-NIG key priorities and strategies to achieve implementation of addiction neuroscience knowledge and tools for the assessment and treatment of substance use disorders. We cover two assessment areas: cognitive assessment and neuroimaging, and two interventional areas: cognitive training/remediation and neuromodulation, where we identify key challenges and proposed solutions. We reason that incorporating cognitive assessment into clinical settings requires the identification of constructs that predict meaningful clinical outcomes. Other requirements are the development of measures that are easily-administered, reliable and ecologically-valid. Translation of neuroimaging techniques requires the development of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and testing the cost-effectiveness of these biomarkers in individualised prediction algorithms for relapse prevention and treatment selection. Integration of cognitive assessments with neuroimaging can provide multilevel targets including neural, cognitive, and behavioural outcomes for neuroscience-informed interventions. Application of neuroscience-informed interventions including cognitive training/remediation and neuromodulation requires clear pathways to design interventions based on multilevel targets, additional evidence from randomised trials and subsequent clinical implementation, including evaluation of cost-effectiveness. We propose to address these challenges by promoting international collaboration between researchers and clinicians, developing harmonised protocols and data management systems, and prioritising multi-site research that focuses on improving clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Addiction, Neuroscience, Treatment, Neuroimaging, Neuromodulation, cognitive training, substance use disorder, fMRI, cognitive remediation, cognitive assessment

Received: 15 Jun 2019; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Verdejo-García, Lorenzetti, Manning, Piercy, Bruno, Hester, Pennington, Tolomeo, Arunogiri, Bates, Bowden-Jones, Campanella, Daughters, Kouimtsidis, Lubman, Meyerhoff, Ralph, Rezapour, Tavakoli, Zare-Bidoky, Zilverstand, Steele, Moeller, Baldacchino, Paulus and Ekhtiari. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Antonio Verdejo-García, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Clayton, Australia,