From crayfish to humans: An evolutionary perspective of addiction


Addiction is a complex disease whose manifestation is unique to each individual patient. Despite this, our knowledge suggests that many of the consequences of using drugs of abuse are due to alterations in the brain, which would be similar from one individual to another. Specifically, abuse drugs act on the brain’s reward system to trigger behavioural effects. In this paper, we will unravel the functions and phylogenetic roots of this system and then explain how drugs of abuse can affect the functioning of the brain. Addiction research and treatment requires a biopsychosocial approach and hence, being aware of the phylogenetic side of this problem can help to build a holistic view of the disease.


addiction; evolution; brain reward system; drugs of abuse; phylogenetic perspective


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