Dehydroepiandrosterone and Addiction

Vitam Horm. 2018;108:385-412. doi: 10.1016/bs.vh.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Drug addiction has a great negative influence on society, both social and economic burden. It was widely thought that addicts could choose to stop using drugs if only they had some self-control and principles. Nowadays, science has changed this view, defining drug addiction as a complex brain disease that affects behavior in many ways, both biological and psychological. Currently there is no ground-breaking reliable treatment for drug addiction. For more than a decade we are researching an alternative approach for intervention with drug craving and relapse to its usage, using DHEA, a well-being and antiaging food supplement. In this chapter we navigate through the significant therapeutic effect of DHEA on the brain circuits that control addiction and on behavioral performance both in animal models and addicts. We suggest that an integrative program of add-on DHEA treatment may further enable to dynamically evaluate the progress of rehabilitation of an individual patient, in a comprehensive assessment. Such a program may boost and support the detoxification and rehabilitation process, and help patients regain a normal life in a shorter amount of time.

Keywords: Addiction; Cocaine; Craving; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Drug self-administration; Neurogenesis; Neurosteroids; Rehabilitation; Relapse; Reward-related memories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Dehydroepiandrosterone