Evidence for Addiction-like Behavior in the Rat

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Science  13 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 1014-1017
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099020

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Although the voluntary intake of drugs of abuse is a behavior largely preserved throughout phylogeny, it is currently unclear whether pathological drug use (“addiction”) can be observed in species other than humans. Here, we report that behaviors that resemble three of the essential diagnostic criteria for addiction appear over time in rats trained to self-administer cocaine. As in humans, this addiction-like behavior is present only in a small proportion of subjects using cocaine and is highly predictive of relapse after withdrawal. These findings provide a new basis for developing a true understanding and treatment of addiction.

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