Author(s): Myers KM, Carlezon WA Jr
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Abstract Conditioned drug craving and withdrawal elicited by cues paired with drug use or acute withdrawal are among the many factors contributing to compulsive drug taking. Understanding how to stop these cues from having these effects is a major goal of addiction research. Extinction is a form of learning in which associations between cues and the events they predict are weakened by exposure to the cues in the absence of those events. Evidence from animal models suggests that conditioned responses to drug cues can be extinguished, although the degree to which this occurs in humans is controversial. Investigations into the neurobiological substrates of extinction of conditioned drug craving and withdrawal may facilitate the successful use of drug cue extinction within clinical contexts. While this work is still in the early stages, there are indications that extinction of drug- and withdrawal-paired cues shares neural mechanisms with extinction of conditioned fear. Using the fear extinction literature as a template, it is possible to organize the observations on drug cue extinction into a cohesive framework. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Neurosci Biobehav Rev
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy