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CNS Spectr. 2014 Dec;19(6):486-95. doi: 10.1017/S1092852913001041. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Behavioral addictions: a novel challenge for psychopharmacology.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale,Section of Psychiatry,University of Pisa,Pisa,Italy.


Although addictive syndromes have been traditionally related to substance-use disorders, during the last few decades a novel addictive group, including the so-called "behavioral or no-drug addictions," has been recognized and has attracted increasing attention for its relevant social impact. This group includes pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, TV/Internet/social network/videogame addictions, workaholism, sex and relationship addictions, orthorexia, and overtraining syndrome. Substance and behavioral addictions show similar phenomenological features, such as craving, dependence, tolerance, and abstinence, and perhaps they share a common possible pathophysiology. It is, however, controversial whether all or at least some of them should be considered real disorders or just normal, albeit extreme, behaviors. The aim of this article is to review current data on pharmacological treatment of behavioral addictions. As no specific and validated treatment algorithms are currently available, only an improved knowledge on their psychopathological, clinical, and neurobiological features may have relevant implications for more focused preventive and therapeutic strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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