Affiliation: Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health - Neurofarba. Psychiatry Section, University of Florence, via delle Gore 2H, 50100 Florence, Italy.
Several patterns of maladaptive behaviors share their clinical features with those of substance use disorders such as tolerance, withdrawal, repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit, and interference in major areas of life function, thus gaining the name of “behavioral addictions”. Several studies showed that behavioral addictions and substance addictions share a similar pattern of brain activation during symptom provocation tasks, suggesting a common neurobiological substrate. However, despite the growing knowledge on the neurobiological underpinnings of behavioral addictions, treatment of these conditions is still controversial. Research Domain Criteria project would help in identifying circuitry involved in complex behavioral syndromes such as addiction either to substances or not-substances. The purpose of this review is to summarize current knowledge of the different pharmacological approaches to behavioral addictions. In particular, we will focus on the pharmacological treatment of pathological gambling, internet addiction and hypersexual disorder.