Recent developments in animal models of drug relapse

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Aug;23(4):675-83. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Drug craving and relapse to drug use during abstinence are defining features of addiction. Evidence indicates that drug craving and relapse in humans are often provoked by acute exposure to the self-administered drug, drug-associated cues, or stress. During the last two decades, this clinical scenario has been primarily studied at the preclinical level using the classical reinstatement model. However, a single preclinical model cannot capture the complicated nature of human drug relapse. Therefore, more recently, we and others have developed several other models to study different facets of human drug relapse. In this review, we introduce and discuss recent findings from these other relapse models, including incubation of drug craving, reacquisition and resurgence models, and punishment-based and conflict-based relapse models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology