Addiction is a complex disorder because many factors contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction. One factor is learning. For example, drug-context associations that develop during drug use could facilitate drug craving upon re-exposure to contexts previously associated with drugs. Additionally, deficits in cognitive processes associated with withdrawal could precipitate relapse in attempts to ameliorate those deficits. Because addiction and learning involve common neural areas and cell signaling cascades, addiction-related changes in processes underlying plasticity may contribute to addiction. This article examines similarities between addiction and learning at the behavioral, neural, and cellular levels, with emphasis on the neural substrates underlying the effects of acute nicotine, chronic nicotine, and withdrawal from chronic nicotine on hippocampus-dependent contextual learning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience