Neuroimaging and biomarkers in addiction treatment

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014 Dec;16(12):513. doi: 10.1007/s11920-014-0513-5.


Neuroimaging studies have made a significant contribution to the efforts to identify measurable indices, or biomarkers, of addictions and their treatments. Biomarkers in addiction treatment are needed to provide targets for treatment, detect treatment subgroups, predict treatment response, and broadly improve outcomes. Neuroimaging is important to biomarkers research as it relates neural circuits to both molecular mechanisms and behavior. A focus of recent efforts in neuroimaging in addiction has been to elucidate the neural correlates associated with dimensions of functioning in substance-use and related disorders, such as cue-reactivity, impulsivity, and cognitive control, among others. These dimensions of functioning have been related to addiction treatment outcomes and relapse, and therefore, a better understanding of these dimensions and their neural correlates may help to identify brain-behavior biomarkers of treatment response. This paper reviews recent neuroimaging studies that report potential biomarkers in addiction treatment related to cue-reactivity, impulsivity, and cognitive control, as well as recent advances in neuroimaging that may facilitate efforts to determine reliable biomarkers. This important initial work has begun to identify possible mediators and moderators of treatment response, and multiple promising indices are being tested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / physiology*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*


  • Biomarkers