Animal Models of the Behavioral Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

Louk J.M.J. Vanderschuren, Serge H. Ahmed
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2020-06-08; : a040287
DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a040287

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Author information:
(1)Department of Animals in Science and Society, Division of Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3584 CM Utrecht, the Netherlands.
(2)Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Neurocampus, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, CNRS UMR 5293, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.

To more effectively manage substance use disorders, it is imperative to understand the neural, genetic, and psychological underpinnings of addictive behavior. To contribute to this understanding, considerable efforts have been made to develop translational animal models that capture key behavioral characteristics of addiction on the basis of DSM5 criteria of substance use disorders. In this review, we summarize empirical evidence for the occurrence of addiction-like behavior in animals. These symptoms include escalation of drug use, neurocognitive deficits, resistance to extinction, exaggerated motivation for drugs, increased reinstatement of drug seeking after extinction, preference for drugs over nondrug rewards, and resistance to punishment. The occurrence of addiction-like behavior in laboratory animals has opened the opportunity to investigate the neural, genetic, and psychological background of key aspects of addiction, which may ultimately contribute to the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.


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