Medications between psychiatric and addictive disorders

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Feb 4;65:215-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.10.009. Epub 2015 Oct 27.


Introduction: Many epidemiological studies have revealed a frequent co-occurrence of psychiatric and substance use disorders. The term used in the literature to refer to this co-occurrence is dual diagnosis. The high prevalence of dual diagnosis has led physicians to observe the effects of medication prescribed to treat psychiatric disorders on the co-occurring substance use disorder and vice versa. The concept of medications between psychiatric and addictive disorders stems from these clinical observations, alongside which, however, it has developed from the observation that both psychiatric and substance use disorders share common neurobiological pathways and trigger common cognitive disorders. This has led researchers to develop medications on the basis of neurobiological and cognitive rationales.

Material and method: In our article, we review peculiar medications based on neurobiological and cognitive rationales and that have an impact in both psychiatric and addictive disorders.

Results: We highlight how interesting these new prescriptions are for clinical observation and for the treatment of patients suffering from dual diagnosis.

Conclusion: We then go on to discuss the interest in them from the perspective of clinical practice and clinical research, in that the development of medications to treat dual diagnosis helps to further our knowledge of both psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Keywords: Addiction; Clozapine; Cognition; Depression; Dual diagnosis; Mirtazapine; Modafinil; Psychiatric disorders; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Humans
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Psychotropic Drugs