About this Research Topic
Drug dependence is a multifactorial disorder resulting from an interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Among the environmental causes, social factors have been shown to play an important role, as they can act as risk or protective factors changing individual vulnerability to developing drug dependence. Understanding the neurobiology underlying how social factors influence addictive behaviors can help to design interventions intended to prevent or treat addictive disorders.
Interest has grown for the effects of social interaction as an alternative to drugs use, as it has been reported that it can prevent initiation, maintenance or relapse. In this sense, social interaction is likely to act as an alleviator of daily stressors that may contribute to increased motivation for drug seeking. Cessation of drug use has better chances of success when individuals have social support from family and friends. Stronger family bonds and secure relations with non-drug using peers act as a protective factor against drug use. However, it has also been shown that stress and peer pressure play an important role in increasing drug use and relapse. Social interactions may, therefore, be an important determinant of drug dependence and relapse. Understanding the influence of social factors in modulating drug use and drug addiction is important to improve prevention strategies. Animal studies can provide more insights on the mechanisms underlying how social interactions shape addiction vulnerability and translational approaches will help design treatment strategies for substance dependent individuals.
The aim of this Research Topic is to highlight the influence of social interactions on drug use and abuse through research and review articles ranging from animal models to human studies.
Keywords: social interaction, drug addiction, reward, social stress, social support
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