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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Advances in the understanding of the neurobiological basis of addiction have led to a better understanding of the causes of drug and alcohol dependence, as well as to new alternatives in the treatment of these disorders. By addressing some of the underlying neurobiological changes that cause and maintain drug and alcohol dependence, pharmacotherapies can provide an important adjunctive treatment for alcohol- and drug-dependent and behaviorally addicted patients. During detoxification, pharmacotherapies can reduce the severity of withdrawal. After detoxification, pharmacotherapies can be useful as an adjunct to psychosocial treatments to help maintain abstinence or reduced addictive behaviors by reducing craving, reducing the rewarding effects of drugs, and improving the allostasis that accompanies abstinence. This chapter describes the neurobiology of drugs and alcohol, how chronic use leads to brain adaptations that result in addiction, and the actions of medications used to treat addictive disorders.

Keywords: Pharmacotherapy, withdrawal, medications, craving, adjunctive treatment, disulfiram, naltrexone, acamprosate, buprenorphine, varenicline, methadone

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