Relapse to drug seeking following prolonged abstinence: the role of environmental stimuli

Drug Discov Today Dis Models. Winter 2008;5(4):251-258. doi: 10.1016/j.ddmod.2009.03.001.


Successful treatment of drug addiction must involve relapse prevention informed by our understanding of the neurobiological bases of drug relapse. In humans, exposure to drug-associated environmental stimuli can elicit drug craving and relapse. Because exposure to drug-paired stimuli similarly induces drug-seeking behavior in laboratory animals, several animal models of drug relapse have been developed. Here, we review animal models of cue-induced drug relapse and critically evaluate their validity and utility in addressing human relapse behaviors.