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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Feb;1248:1-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06298.x. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

The clinical significance of drug craving.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA. stiffany@buffalo.edu


Although drug craving has received considerable research attention over the past several decades, to date there has been no systematic review of the general clinical significance of craving. This paper presents an overview of measurement issues of particular relevance to a consideration of use of craving in clinical settings. The paper then considers the relevance of craving across a broad array of clinical domains, including diagnosis, prognostic utility, craving as an outcome measure, and the potential value of craving as a direct target of intervention. The paper is both descriptive and prescriptive, informed by the current state of the science on craving with recommendations for the definition of craving, assessment practices, future research, and clinical applications. We conclude that craving has considerable utility for diagnosis and as a clinical outcome, and that findings from future research will likely expand the clinical potential of the craving construct in the domains of prognosis and craving as a treatment target.

© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

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