About this Research Topic
Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), entail dramatic health, economic and social problems for developed countries. Behavioral and psychopharmacological therapies currently available for these disorders show little efficacy, often limited to a subset of patients. Improving therapeutic efficacy requires a better understanding of the biological background of individual resilience and vulnerability to addictive disorders. It is well established that a subset of drug users make a transition from voluntary recreative drug intake to repeated consumption and abuse. Chronic drug exposure induces long-lasting neural adaptations resulting in drug craving, in compulsive drug seeking and intake, and in a high propensity to relapse. Similar neural adaptations have been observed in individuals suffering from behavioral addictions such as gambling or food addiction.
The goal of this Research Topic is to improve our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying individual variables that drive drug and behavioral addictions. To understand why some people intensify pathologically a behavior (and others do not) can help to design future interventions intended to prevent or treat addictive disorders. Age and sex are individual variables that modulate the effects of drugs of abuse. Adolescence has been recognized as a critical developmental period in which the still-developing brain is highly vulnerable to the impact of vital experiences, including drug or stress exposure. Furthermore, it is well established that ovarian hormones are involved in sex differences to drugs of abuse and to the greater vulnerability of females to addiction. Similarly, age and sex can influence behavioral addictions. In addition, recent studies have also demonstrated the existence of endophenotypes related to addictive behaviors. Impulsivity, novelty-seeking, harm avoidance and reward dependence are traits correlated with increased risk of addiction. Current research is heading towards an understanding of the neurobiological substrates underlying these individual differences. This body of research includes genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, neural pathways, neurotransmitter systems, molecular mechanisms, immune mediators, etc.
This Research Topic will discuss the latest advances in our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying resilience or vulnerability to addiction. In addition to finding “risk biomarkers”, it is essential to know which individual variables confer resilience to addiction. This is the first step to develop strategies to increase resilience in patients and subjects at risk. We aim to generate a translational perspective of these issues through research and review articles ranging in scope from animal models to human studies.
The contributions must cover, but are not limited to, the following subtopics:
- Adolescence and addiction
- Animal models of behavioral and drug addictions
- Behavioral strategies or pharmacological approaches increasing resilience to drug addiction
- Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of vulnerability or resilience to addictive behaviors
- Individual physiological or psychological risk factors to behavioral or substance-related addictions
- Neurobehavioural or personality traits preventing behavioral or substance-related addictions
- Personalized prevention and/or treatment interventions in addictive disorders
Keywords: Behavioural addictions, drug addiction, individual variability, animal models, neurobiology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.