SE01 – Presidential Session: The New Neurobiology of Addiction

SE01 – Presidential Session: The New Neurobiology of Addiction

Thursday, Oct. 19
10:45 – 11:45 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Junior Ballroom C (3rd floor – North Tower)
Petros Levounis*, MD, MA

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Medical Expert

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Describe the fundamental elements of drive and cognition in the neurobiology of addiction; 2) Identify the role of the insula in the stop-go model of addiction; and 3) Discuss the clinical implications of the neurobiology of addiction in treating substance use disorders and behavioural addictions.

From a neurobiological perspective, addiction is the hijacking of the pleasure-reward pathways of the brain and a weakening of its executive function. In 2024, the fundamental model has been expanded to include newer concepts, such as motivational circuitry, the anti-reward pathways, and interoception. These 21st century discoveries inform clinical innovations that are revolutionizing the landscape of the pharmacological and psychosocial treatments of substance use disorders and the behavioural addictions.`


  1. Ascher MS, Levounis P, editors. The behavioral addictions. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Publishing; 2015.
  2. Avery J, Adam T, Levounis P. Substance-related and addictive disorders. In: Weiss Roberts, L, editor. The American Psychiatric Association Publishing textbook of psychiatry. 7th edition. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2019. p 645–671.