Most people who are regular consumers of psychoactive drugs are not drug addicts, nor will they ever become addicts. In neurobiological theories, non-addictive drug consumption is acknowledged only as a prerequisite for addiction, but not as a stable and widespread behavior in its own right. This target article proposes a new neurobiological framework theory for non-addictive psychoactive drug consumption, introducing the concept of Psychoactive drugs are consumed for their effects on mental states. Humans are able to learn that mental states (...) can be changed on purpose by drugs, in order to facilitate other, non-drug-related behaviors. We discuss specific and outline neurobiological mechanisms of how major classes of psychoactive drugs change mental states and serve non-drug-related behaviors. We argue that drug instrumentalization behavior may provide a functional adaptation to modern environments based on a historical selection for learning mechanisms that allow the dynamic modification of consummatory behavior. It is assumed that in order to effectively instrumentalize psychoactive drugs, the establishment of and retrieval from a drug memory is required. Here, we propose a new classification of different drug memory subtypes and discuss how they interact during drug instrumentalization learning and retrieval. Understanding the everyday utility and the learning mechanisms of non-addictive psychotropic drug use may help to prevent abuse and the transition to drug addiction in the future. (shrink)
Proposing a change to the view on psychoactive drug use in non-addicts touches a sensitive issue because of its potential implications to addiction prevention, therapeutic practice, and drug policy. Commentators raised nine questions that ranged from clarifications, suggested extensions of the model to supporting data previously not regarded, to assumptions on the implications of the model. Here, we take up the suggestions of the commentators to expand the model to behavioral addictions, discuss additional instrumentalization goals, and review the evidence from (...) laboratory animal studies on drug instrumentalization. We consider further the role of sociocultural factors and individual development in the establishment in drug instrumentalization and addiction. Finally, we clarify which implications we think this model may have. We conclude that drug instrumentalization theory can be further applied to other behaviors but will require a sensitive debate when used for drug and addiction policy that directly affects prevention and treatment. (shrink)
The drug-reinforcement theory explains why humans get engaged in drug taking behavior. This theory posits that drugs of abuse serve as biological rewards by activating the reinforcement system. Although from a psychological and neurobiological perspective this theory is extremely helpful, it does not tell us about the drug-taking motives and motivation of an individual. The definition of drug instrumentalization goals will improve our understanding of individual drug-taking profiles.
Science has needed a dispassionate valuation of psychoactive drugs, but a motivational analysis should be conducted with respect to long-term reward rather than reproductive fitness. Because of hyperbolic overvaluation of short-term rewards, an individual's valuation depends on the time she forms it and the times she will revisit it, sometimes making her best long-term interest lie in total abstinence.
Arguably, the religious use of hallucinogenic drugs stems from a human search of metaphysical insight rather than from a direct need for cognitive, emotional, social, physical, or sexual improvement. Therefore, the sacramental and spiritual intake of hallucinogenic drugs goes so far beyond other biopsychosocial functions that it deserves its own category in the drug instrumentalization list.
Extensive research has demonstrated that rs1360780, a common single nucleotide polymorphism within the FKBP5 gene, interacts with early-life stress in predicting psychopathology. Previous results suggest that carriers of the TT genotype of rs1360780 who were exposed to child abuse show differences in structure and functional activation of emotion-processing brain areas belonging to the salience network. Extending these findings on intermediate phenotypes of psychopathology, we examined if the interaction between rs1360780 and child abuse predicts resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between the amygdala (...) and other areas of the salience network. We analyzed data of young European adults from the general population (N = 774; mean age = 18.76 years) who took part in the IMAGEN study. In the absence of main effects of genotype and abuse, a significant interaction effect was observed for rsFC between the right centromedial amygdala and right posterior insula (p <.025, FWE-corrected), which was driven by stronger rsFC in TT allele carriers with a history of abuse. Our results suggest that the TT genotype of rs1360780 may render individuals with a history of abuse more vulnerable to functional changes in communication between brain areas processing emotions and bodily sensations, which could underlie or increase the risk for psychopathology. (shrink)