A considerable body of research has accumulated over several decades and altered the current understanding of substance use and its effects on the brain. This knowledge has improved the perception of the disease of addiction and has opened the door to new ways of thinking about diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of substance use disorders. The purpose of the current chapter is to briefly outline and summarize the major psychopharmacological framework underlying substance use disorder (SUD) and the factors that involve in the transformation of some people from recreational use or misuse of alcohol or drugs to SUD. The chapter explains the overall neurocircuitry theories of the addiction cycle: binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative affect, and preoccupation/anticipation. It briefly discusses how psychoactive substances produce changes in brain functioning that facilitate the development of addiction and contribute to craving which eventually leads to relapse. The chapter also deals with similarities and differences among various classes of addictive substances in their effects on the brain and behavior and briefly describes the main risk factors that involve SUD. Finally, an attempt is made to briefly discuss the major DSM 5 based behavioral criteria that involve SUD, corresponding to the most abused substances worldwide.
Part of the book: Addictions