Biological models of addiction emphasize the importance of genetics and the biological forces of nature. These theories suggest that brain chemistry, brain structure, and genetic abnormalities cause human behavior. Many of these models have not been tested or applied to each specific type of addiction. As biological studies identify specific brain pathways and chemicals that may underlie specific aspects of addictions and vulnerability to addictions, the knowledge gained has significant potential to advance prevention, treatment and policy interventions.
Importantly, research has revealed that certain biological risk factors increase the likelihood of addictive outcomes, but not a single factor has been discovered that predicts addiction with certainty. Multiple biological models have been proposed to understand addictions and vulnerability to addiction, and many of these models are complementary and not mutually exclusive. Efforts to combat addictions need to consider how a better biological understanding of addictions can lead to better prevention, treatment and policy initiatives. Further consideration and clarification of the biological etiologies of addictions has significant potential to make significant progress and reduce the public health impact of addictions.
Efforts to attack addictions require considering how a better biological understanding of addictions can lead to better prevention, treatment and policy initiatives.