The identification of a heuristic framework for the stages of the addiction cycle that are linked to neurocircuitry changes in pathophysiology includes the binge/intoxication stage, the withdrawal/negative affect stage, and the preoccupation/anticipation (craving) stage, which represent neuroadaptations in three neurocircuits (basal ganglia, extended amygdala, and frontal cortex, respectively). The identification of excellent and validated animal models, the development of human laboratory models, and an enormous surge in our understanding of neurocircuitry and neuropharmacological mechanisms have provided a revisionist view of addiction that emphasizes the loss of brain reward function and gain of stress function that drive negative reinforcement (the dark side of addiction) as a key to compulsive drug seeking. Reversing the dark side of addiction not only explains much of the existing successful pharmacotherapies for addiction but also points to vast new opportunities for future medications to alleviate this major source of human suffering.


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