The Neuroscience of “Addiction”

erickson2From Diagnosis to Treatment

Carlton K. Erickson, Ph.D., author of “Drugs, The Brain, and Behavior” (2013) and “Addiction Essentials: The Go-To Guide for Clinicians and Patients” (2011).  Dr. Erickson is a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA.

(All-day training, including lunch)

Join here:


Researchers in many scientific disciplines have long been trying to understand “addiction”, often disagreeing in their conclusions.  Most neuroscientists and many clinicians now realize that severe substance use disorders (a.k.a. chemical dependence or “addiction”) is a chronic, relapsing genetically-influenced brain disease that causes out-of-control drinking or drugging behavior.  Since this is a brain disease (located in the brain’s reward pathway), and since many people get better through different types of treatment, something must change in the brain during recovery.  This presentation will present evidence for the pathology of “addiction” and how it changes during recovery.  New brain scan results provide a link between psychosocial research and neuroscience.

This wide-ranging workshop will cover a) the latest diagnostic terminology concerning substance use disorders (including “addiction”), b) how severe disorders develop and in whom, c) basic neurobiological principles in understanding the disease nature of severe drug use disorders, d) controversies in the neuroscience/genetic research involving “addiction”, and e) how the treatments of today and in the future relate to our current understanding of substance use disorders and “addiction”.

Learning objectives

•  Describe the latest criteria that have been developed to diagnose drug use disorders
•  Compare and contrast the diagnostic criteria in the two latest editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
•  List the criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders (SUD) in the newest edition (5) of the DSM
•  Explain how the criteria can aid in determining types and outcomes of treatment for mild, moderate, and severe forms of SUD
•  Describe the latest neurobiology of “addiction”
•  Explain the problems with the brain’s reward pathway that relate to the disease of “addiction”
•  Identify the brain areas involved in drug use disorders
•  Explain the process of recovery to those with substance use disorders
•  List the types of treatment, including medications, that are most effective in overcoming non-pathological and pathological use of drugs
•  Describe newer research methods (such as brain imaging) that are helping people understand that “addiction” is a brain disease that can be successfully treated
•  Identify the evidence-based (research-proven) treatments that are available in 2014
•  Discover the critical need for treatment centers to improve their treatment methods and to evaluate outcomes