Neurobiological and psychopathological mechanisms underlyng addiction-like behaviors: an overview and thematic synthesis

Loredana Scala, Maria Rosaria Anna Muscatello, Nicola Pangallo, Antonio Bruno, Rocco Antonio Zoccali


The term dependency is increasingly being used also to explain symptoms resulting from the repetition of a behavior or legalized and socially accepted activities that do not involve substance assumption. These activities, although considered normal habits of daily life can become real addictions that may affect and disrupt socio-relational and working functioning. Growing evidence suggests to consider behavioral addictions similar to drug dependence for their common symptoms, the high frequency of poly-dependence conditions, and the correlation in risk (impulsivity, sensation seeking, early exposure, familiarity) and protective (parental control, adequate metacognitive skills) factors. The aim of this paper is to describe addiction in its general aspects, highlighting the underlying neurobiological and psychopathological mechanisms.


Addiction; Behavioral Addictions; Drug Dependence; Neurobiology; Psychopathology

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