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Curr Behav Neurosci Rep. 2014 Mar 1;1(1):45-54.

Neuroimaging in Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

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National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services, Experimental Therapeutics & Pathophysiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, 10 Center Dr., Building 10/CRC, Room 7-5545, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Yale University Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, USA.


Neuroimaging, including PET, MRI, and MRS, is a powerful approach to the study of brain function. This article reviews neuroimaging findings related to alcohol and other drugs of abuse that have been published since 2011. Uses of neuroimaging are to characterize patients to determine who will fare better in treatment and to investigate the reasons underlying the effect on outcomes. Neuroimaging is also used to characterize the acute and chronic effects of substances on the brain and how those effects are related to dependence, relapse, and other drug effects. The data can be used to provide encouraging information for patients, as several studies have shown that long-term abstinence is associated with at least partial normalization of neurological abnormalities.


Alcoholism; Brain; Cocaine; Ethanol; Heroin; MRI; MRS; Marijuana; Metabolism; Methamphetamine; Opioids; PET; Psychostimulants

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