Neuroimaging mechanisms of change in psychotherapy for addictive behaviors: emerging translational approaches that bridge biology and behavior.
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Research on mechanisms of behavior change provides an innovative method to improve treatment for addictive behaviors. An important extension of mechanisms of change research involves the use of translational approaches, which examine how basic biological (i.e., brain-based mechanisms) and behavioral factors interact in initiating and sustaining positive behavior change as a result of psychotherapy. Articles in this special issue include integrative conceptual reviews and innovative empirical research on brain-based mechanisms that may underlie risk for addictive behaviors and response to psychotherapy from adolescence through adulthood. Review articles discuss hypothesized mechanisms of change for cognitive and behavioral therapies, mindfulness-based interventions, and neuroeconomic approaches. Empirical articles cover a range of addictive behaviors, including use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and pathological gambling and represent a variety of imaging approaches including fMRI, magneto-encephalography, real-time fMRI, and diffusion tensor imaging. Additionally, a few empirical studies directly examine brain-based mechanisms of change, whereas others examine brain-based indicators as predictors of treatment outcome. Finally, two commentaries discuss craving as a core feature of addiction, and the importance of a developmental approach to examining mechanisms of change. Ultimately, translational research on mechanisms of behavior change holds promise for increasing understanding of how psychotherapy may modify brain structure and functioning and facilitate the initiation and maintenance of positive treatment outcomes for addictive behaviors.2013 APA, all rights reserved