Addiction, cognitive decline and therapy: seeking ways to escape a vicious cycle

C. J. Perry*, A. J. Lawrence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Any type of behavioral change is an effortful process. Thus, the process of behavioral therapy, where clients seek to change maladaptive behavioral patterns, requires high-level cognitive engagement. It is unfortunate, then, that cognitive impairment is a feature of substance use disorders (SUDs), and especially because the domains that tend to be impaired are the very ones involved in the process of therapeutic behavioral change. In this review, we compare the cognitive profile that is frequently observed with chronic SUD with the skills that are required to initiate and sustain behavioral change during rehabilitation. Furthermore, we look to new therapeutic developments that seek to improve cognitive function. We propose that the use of these cognitive enhancing agents as adjuncts to behavioral therapy should help to overcome some of the cognitive barriers imposed by the disorder itself, and hence reduce the chance of relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • abstinence
  • addiction
  • animal models
  • behavioral therapy
  • cognition
  • cognitive enhancement
  • cognitive impairment
  • exercise
  • relapse
  • substance use disorder
  • therapy


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