Executive Dysfunction in Addiction

David P. Jarmolowicz, E. Terry Mueller, Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Anne E. Carter, Kirstin M. Gatchalian, Warren K. Bickel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Executive dysfunction has been increasingly recognized in addiction. The patterns of executive dysfunction seen in addiction result from a disruption in the regulatory balance between two competing neurobehavioral decision systems (CNDS). This chapter reviews executive dysfunction in addiction (i.e., drug addiction, pathological gambling, and obesity). First, it examines prevalent approaches to executive function from both outside and within the addiction research literature. Second, it synthesizes a comprehensive approach to executive function, which accounts for the skills emphasized in previous conceptualizations and for the patterns of dysfunction seen in addiction. The conceptualization of executive functions provides a framework that has spawned novel approaches to studying, understanding, and treating the range of executive dysfunctions associated with addiction. The third section considers these executive functions and their prevalence in addiction. In doing so, the chapter considers approaches to measuring these skills, and their neurobiological underpinning. Lastly, some directions for future research are discussed. This edition first published 2013

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Addiction Psychopharmacology
Number of pages35
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013


  • Addiction
  • Behavioral inhibition
  • Drug use
  • Executive dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Pathological gambling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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