Current pharmacological and psychosocial approaches to the treatment of alcohol dependence may best be described as modestly effective, and it is unlikely that a magic bullet for the treatment of any substance use disorder will ever be developed. Rather, it seems more likely that there will be a number of treatment options, each of which will target different mechanisms. Thus, future treatment gains are likely to depend on the ability to match individuals with the treatment most likely to benefit them, which in turn is contingent on our ability to understand the mechanisms that drive the maintenance of substance use disorders on an individual level. On a more global scale, this type of effort has been described as “personalized medicine” and has focused largely on the human genome as a source of information that can be used to match individuals to treatments. This review enumerates barriers to realizing the potential of personalized medicine for substance use disorders and identifies opportunities to overcome those barriers, which involve the development of translational approaches that focus on the development of brain-based phenotypes that serve as the target of both treatment development and of genetic research.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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