We discuss the idea that addictions can be treated by changing the mechanisms involved in self-control with or without regard to intention. The core clinical symptoms of addiction include an enhanced incentive for drug taking (craving), impaired self-control (impulsivity and compulsivity), negative mood, and increased stress reactivity. Symptoms related to impaired self-control involve reduced activity in control networks including anterior cingulate (ACC), adjacent prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and striatum. Behavioral training such as mindfulness meditation can increase the function of control networks and may be a promising approach for the treatment of addiction, even among those without intention to quit.
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