Noninvasive brain stimulation to suppress craving in substance use disorders: Review of human evidence and methodological considerations for future work.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Neurosci Biobehav Rev, Volume 59, p.184-200 (2015)


<p>Substance use disorders (SUDs) can be viewed as a pathology of neuroadaptation. The pharmacological overstimulation of neural mechanisms of reward, motivated learning and memory leads to drug-seeking behavior. A critical characteristic of SUDs is the appearance of craving, the motivated desire and urge to use, which is a main focus of current pharmacological and behavioral therapies. Recent proof-of-concept studies have tested the effects of noninvasive brain stimulation on craving. Although its mechanisms of action are not fully understood, this approach shows interesting potential in tuning down craving and possibly consumption of diverse substances. This article reviews available results on the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) in SUDs, specifically tobacco, alcohol and psychostimulant use disorders. We discuss several important factors that need to be addressed in future works to improve clinical assessment and effects of noninvasive brain stimulation in SUDs. Factors discussed include brain stimulation devices and parameters, study designs, brain states and subjects' characteristics.</p>

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