Behavioral addictions in addiction medicine: from mechanisms to practical considerations

First published: 30/03/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

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Marc Potenza

Dr Potenza is a psychiatrist with sub-specialty training and certification in addiction psychiatry. He received a combined BS/MS with Honors in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics and a PhD in Cell Biology at Yale University. He is a Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Neuroscience at the Yale University School of Medicine where he is the Director of the Problem Gambling Clinic, the Center of Excellence in Gambling Research, and the Women and Addictive Disorders Core of Women’s Health Research. He has consulted to the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other bodies on matters of addiction, and has participated in two DSM-5 research work groups.

 

Dr Potenza’s research has focused on the neurobiology and treatment of substance and non-substance addictions characterized by impaired impulse control and reward-related motivations. The majority of this work has focused on understanding clinical and neurobiological underpinnings of these disorders, and their co-occurrences with other mental health disorders. His research has applied a number of methodologies, and has involved identifying potential intermediary phenotypes that may explain the high rates of co-occurrence between psychiatric conditions and might represent novel targets for prevention and treatment strategies.



People have debated which behaviors and disorders constitute addictions, with general perceptions changing over time.  During the 1980s, many leading addiction researchers believed that addictions were defined as compulsive drug use.  Since then, other researchers have proposed expanding the boundaries of addictions to include non-substance-use-related behaviors like gambling and Internet use.  In this presentation, we will explore similarities and differences between substance and non-substance (or behavioral) addictions.  We will describe findings relating to phenomenolgical, behavioral, biological (genetic, neurofunctional) and clinical (relating to psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments) features of behavioral and substance addictions.   We will also discuss implications for prevention and policy, including considerations for the forthcoming ICD-11.

The has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse.  The views presented are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agencies who did not have influence on the proposed and conducted study designs or interpretation of results.

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