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Brain Struct Funct. 2010 Jun;214(5-6):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s00429-010-0259-8. Epub 2010 May 29.

Insula and drug cravings.

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School of Psychology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.


This paper reviews the role of the insula in drug craving. Evidence is presented that drug craving may be a particular instance of the anterior insula's broader role in interoception and subjective feeling states similar, for example, to thirst and hunger. An important role for the insula in craving is supported by evidence of insular activity changing with satiety and with the top-down cognitive modulation of cravings. Cognitive processes involving the insula's role in awareness of one's own behaviour may also contribute to craving insofar as the avoidance of craving might require subjective awareness of the endogenous and exogenous cues that initiate it. Finally, some consideration is given to sex differences and developmental processes in craving.

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