Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing and remitting disorder, where relapse to drinking is often triggered by an intense desire for alcohol (craving) and the consequent motivation to obtain alcohol (seeking). Environmental stimuli (cues) associated with past alcohol use are believed to strongly contribute to relapse, as exposure to these cues can trigger intense feelings of craving and drive alcohol seeking. Over the past several decades, much progress has been made in identifying the neurobiological correlates of alcohol seeking and relapse. Much of this progress is owed to the development of animal models and advanced techniques to manipulate neural activity. In this chapter, we describe some of the most commonly used rodent models of alcohol intake and seeking as well as the methods used to identify the neural structures and circuits involved in alcohol-mediated behavior. Several of the most routinely identified brain structures in alcohol seeking are also described.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Drug Addiction Research and Clinical Applications