Evidence for addiction-like behavior in the rat

Science. 2004 Aug 13;305(5686):1014-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1099020.


Although the voluntary intake of drugs of abuse is a behavior largely preserved throughout phylogeny, it is currently unclear whether pathological drug use ("addiction") can be observed in species other than humans. Here, we report that behaviors that resemble three of the essential diagnostic criteria for addiction appear over time in rats trained to self-administer cocaine. As in humans, this addiction-like behavior is present only in a small proportion of subjects using cocaine and is highly predictive of relapse after withdrawal. These findings provide a new basis for developing a true understanding and treatment of addiction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive*
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders*
  • Cues
  • Electroshock
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reward
  • Self Administration
  • Time Factors


  • Cocaine