Drug addiction: the neurobiology of behaviour gone awry

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Dec;5(12):963-70. doi: 10.1038/nrn1539.


Drug addiction manifests as a compulsive drive to take a drug despite serious adverse consequences. This aberrant behaviour has traditionally been viewed as bad "choices" that are made voluntarily by the addict. However, recent studies have shown that repeated drug use leads to long-lasting changes in the brain that undermine voluntary control. This, combined with new knowledge of how environmental, genetic and developmental factors contribute to addiction, should bring about changes in our approach to the prevention and treatment of addiction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / metabolism*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders / metabolism*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology