The dopamine system and alcohol dependence

Current efforts to prevent and treat alcohol dependence are of very limited effectiveness. A better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying addiction is essential for improving the outcomes of treatment and prevention initiatives. To date, most efforts have focused on the key role of the dopamine system in the complex etiologic network of alcohol dependence.

This review summarizes current research on the relationships between alcohol use and the dopaminergic system. We note that many of the currently available studies have conflicting results, likely due to differences in methodology, nonlinear dosing effects, the use of different samples, and the possible confounding effects of other neurotransmitter systems.


Shanghai Arch Psychiatry. 2014 Apr; 26(2): 61–68: The dopamine system and alcohol dependence

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