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Addict Behav. 2005 Jul;30(6):1209-24.

Neurobiochemical and clinical aspects of craving in alcohol addiction: a review.

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  • 1Institute of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Gemelli Hospital, Largo A. Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.


Craving plays an important role in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence and relapse. In this review we have tried to analyse how many contrasting theories have been formulated in order to clarify the concept of craving. Many complex neurobiochemical mechanisms are implicated in the etiology of craving; these mechanisms involve several neurotransmitters, such us dopamine, opioids, glutamate, and serotonin. On the other hand comportamental and/or cognitive aspects could also play a role in the etiology of craving. The coexistence of many and often contrasting theories can indicate that different subtypes of patients could have different mechanisms at the basis of alcohol craving, suggesting that it could be advisable to personalize the anti-craving therapy.

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