124| The Neuropsychology of Addiction – A Conversation With Dr. Antonio Verdejo-Garcia

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Antonio Verdejo-Garcia about the neuropsychology of addiction. We cover addiction epidemiology, the syndrome model, neurobiology, transdiagnostic constructs such as compulsivity, behavioral addictions, cognitive profiles linked to substances of abuse, and behavioral, pharmacological, and cognitive treatments for people with addictions.

About Antonio

Dr. Antonio Verdejo-Garcia currently holds the position of Professor (Research) in the School of Psychological Sciences and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University. He is also an NHMRC Leadership Fellow, and the Co-Chair of the Neuroscience Interest Group at the International Society of Addiction Medicine. He has an Adjunct Honorary Appointment in Turning Point (Eastern Health).

Antonio’s research focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underpinning executive control and decision-making, and their implications for substance and behavioural addictions, compulsive eating and obesity. He has published > 290 peer-reviewed articles, edited a book on Cognition & Addiction (Academic Press, 2020), and his research has been continuously funded via national and international competitive research schemes. His work has attracted over 17,000 citations. He sits on the Editorial Board of the journals: Addiction (#1 in the Substance Abuse category of the Journal Citation Reports rank), PLoS One, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Current Addiction Reports, and Adicciones.


Anderson, A. C., Youssef, G. J., Robinson, A. H., Lubman, D. I., & Verdejo‐Garcia, A. (2021). Cognitive boosting interventions for impulsivity in addiction: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of cognitive training, remediation and pharmacological enhancement. Addiction, 116(12), 3304–3319. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15469

Baldacchino, A., Steele, D., Davey, F., & Tolomeo, S. (2020). Cognitive consequences of opioid use. Cognition and Addiction, 179–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00013-7

Barreno, E. M., Domínguez-Salas, S., Díaz-Batanero, C., Lozano, Ó. M., Marín, J. A., & Verdejo-García, A. (2019). Specific aspects of cognitive impulsivity are longitudinally associated with lower treatment retention and greater relapse in therapeutic community treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 96, 33–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2018.10.004

Castellanos-Ryan, N., & Conrod, P. (2020). Cognitive risk factors for alcohol and substance addictions. Cognition and Addiction, 91–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00007-1

Domínguez-Salas, S., Díaz-Batanero, C., Lozano-Rojas, O. M., & Verdejo-García, A. (2016). Impact of general cognition and executive function deficits on addiction treatment outcomes: Systematic review and discussion of neurocognitive pathways. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71, 772–801. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.09.030

Ekhtiari, H., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Moeller, S. J., Zare-Bidoky, M., Baldacchino, A. M., & Paulus, M. (2020). Editorial: Brain and cognition for addiction medicine: From prevention to recovery. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.590030

Fitzpatrick, R. E., Robinson, A. H., Rubenis, A. J., Lubman, D. I., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2021). Lack of longitudinal changes in cognition in individuals with methamphetamine use disorder during the first 6 weeks after commencing treatment. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2020.1869243

Koob, G. F., & Le Moal, M. (2008). Addiction and the Brain Antireward System. Annual Review of Psychology, 59(1), 29–53. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093548

LoConte, N. K., Brewster, A. M., Kaur, J. S., Merrill, J. K., & Alberg, A. J. (2018). Alcohol and cancer: A statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 36(1), 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2017.76.1155

Lorenzetti, V., Chye, Y., Suo, C., Walterfang, M., Lubman, D. I., Takagi, M., Whittle, S., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Cousijn, J., Pantelis, C., Seal, M., Fornito, A., Yücel, M., & Solowij, N. (2019). Neuroanatomical alterations in people with high and low cannabis dependence. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 54(1), 68–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867419859077

Maillard, A., Cabé, N., Viader, F., & Pitel, A. L. (2020). Neuropsychological deficits in alcohol use disorder. Cognition and Addiction, 103–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00008-3

Mallorquí-Bagué, N., Vintró-Alcaraz, C., Verdejo-García, A., Granero, R., Fernández-Aranda, F., Magaña, P., Mena-Moreno, T., Aymamí, N., Gómez-Peña, M., Del Pino-Gutiérrez, A., Mestre-Bach, G., Menchón, J. M., & Jiménez-Murcia, S. (2019). Impulsivity and cognitive distortions in different clinical phenotypes of gambling disorder: Profiles and longitudinal prediction of treatment outcomes. European Psychiatry, 61, 9–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2019.06.006

Manning, V., Garfield, J. B., Reynolds, J., Staiger, P. K., Piercy, H., Bonomo, Y., Lloyd‐Jones, M., Jacka, D., Wiers, R. W., Verdejo‐Garcia, A., & Lubman, D. I. (2022). Alcohol use in the year following approach bias modification during inpatient withdrawal: Secondary Outcomes from a double‐blind, multi‐site randomized controlled trial. Addiction, 117(11), 2837–2846. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15989

Manning, V., Garfield, J. B., Staiger, P. K., Lubman, D. I., Lum, J. A., Reynolds, J., Hall, K., Bonomo, Y., Lloyd-Jones, M., Wiers, R. W., Piercy, H., Jacka, D., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2021). Effect of cognitive bias modification on early relapse among adults undergoing inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment. JAMA Psychiatry, 78(2), 133. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3446

Mulhauser, K., Weinstock, J., Van Patten, R., McGrath, A. B., Merz, Z. C., & White, C. N. (2019). Examining the stability of the UPPS-P and MCQ-27 during residential treatment for substance use disorder. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 27(5), 474–481. https://doi.org/10.1037/pha0000255

Ottino-González, J., Uhlmann, A., Hahn, S., Cao, Z., Cupertino, R. B., Schwab, N., Allgaier, N., Alia-Klein, N., Ekhtiari, H., Fouche, J.-P., Goldstein, R. Z., Li, C.-S. R., Lochner, C., London, E. D., Luijten, M., Masjoodi, S., Momenan, R., Oghabian, M. A., Roos, A., … Garavan, H. (2022). White matter microstructure differences in individuals with dependence on cocaine, methamphetamine, and nicotine: Findings from the Enigma-Addiction Working Group. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 230, 109185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109185

Peacock, A., Leung, J., Larney, S., Colledge, S., Hickman, M., Rehm, J., Giovino, G. A., West, R., Hall, W., Griffiths, P., Ali, R., Gowing, L., Marsden, J., Ferrari, A. J., Grebely, J., Farrell, M., & Degenhardt, L. (2018). Global statistics on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use: 2017 status report. Addiction, 113(10), 1905–1926. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14234

Raj, K., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2020). From impulses to compulsions. Cognition and Addiction, 9–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00002-2

Rash, C., Weinstock, J., & Van Patten, R. (2016). A review of gambling disorder and Substance Use Disorders. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 3. https://doi.org/10.2147/sar.s83460

Ridley, N. J., Draper, B., & Withall, A. (2013). Alcohol-related dementia: An update of the evidence. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, 5(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/alzrt157

Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Kidman, R. C., Donato, A. N., & Stanton, M. V. (2004). Toward a syndrome model of addiction: Multiple expressions, common etiology. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 12(6), 367–374. https://doi.org/10.1080/10673220490905705

Valyan, A., Ekhtiari, H., Smith, R., & Paulus, M. P. (2020). Decision-making deficits in substance use disorders. Cognition and Addiction, 25–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00004-6

van Baal, S. T., Moskovsky, N., Hohwy, J., & Verdejo-García, A. (2022). State impulsivity amplifies urges without diminishing self-control. Addictive Behaviors, 133, 107381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107381

van Holst, R. J., & Schilt, T. (2011). Drug-related decrease in neuropsychological functions of abstinent drug users. Current Drug Abuse Reviewse, 4(1), 42–56. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874473711104010042

Van Patten, R., Weinstock, J., & McGrath, A. B. (2017). Health Outcomes in individuals with problem and pathological gambling: An analysis of the 2014 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Survey System (BRFSS). Journal of Gambling Studies, 34(1), 297–306. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-017-9712-4

Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2016a). Cognitive training for substance use disorders: Neuroscientific mechanisms. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 68, 270–281. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.05.018

Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2020). Cognition: the interface between nature and nurture in addiction. Cognition and Addiction, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00001-0

Verdejo-Garcia, A., & Rubenis, A. J. (2020). Cognitive deficits in people with stimulant use disorders. Cognition and Addiction, 155–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00011-3

Verdejo-Garcia, A., Garcia-Fernandez, G., & Dom, G. (2019). Cognition and addiction. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 21(3), 281–290. https://doi.org/10.31887/dcns.2019.21.3/gdom

Verdejo-Garcia, A., Lorenzetti, V., Manning, V., Piercy, H., Bruno, R., Hester, R., Pennington, D., Tolomeo, S., Arunogiri, S., Bates, M. E., Bowden-Jones, H., Campanella, S., Daughters, S. B., Kouimtsidis, C., Lubman, D. I., Meyerhoff, D. J., Ralph, A., Rezapour, T., Tavakoli, H., … Ekhtiari, H. (2019). A roadmap for integrating neuroscience into addiction treatment: A consensus of the neuroscience interest group of the International Society of Addiction Medicine. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00877

Verdejo-Garcia, A., Tiego, J., Kakoschke, N., Moskovsky, N., Voigt, K., Anderson, A., Koutoulogenis, J., Lubman, D. I., & Bellgrove, M. A. (2021). A unified online test battery for cognitive impulsivity reveals relationships with real-world impulsive behaviours. Nature Human Behaviour, 5(11), 1562–1577. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01127-3

Verdejo-García, A. J., Perales, J. C., & Pérez-García, M. (2007). Cognitive impulsivity in cocaine and heroin polysubstance abusers. Addictive Behaviors, 32(5), 950–966. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.06.032

Verdejo-García, A., Alcázar-Córcoles, M. A., & Albein-Urios, N. (2018). Neuropsychological interventions for decision-making in Addiction: A systematic review. Neuropsychology Review, 29(1), 79–92. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11065-018-9384-6

Verdejo-García, A., Bechara, A., Recknor, E. C., & Pérez-García, M. (2006). Executive dysfunction in substance dependent individuals during drug use and abstinence: An examination of the behavioral, cognitive and emotional correlates of addiction. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 12(03). https://doi.org/10.1017/s1355617706060486

Verdejo-García, A., del Mar Sánchez-Fernández, M., Alonso-Maroto, L. M., Fernández-Calderón, F., Perales, J. C., Lozano, Ó., & Pérez-García, M. (2010). Impulsivity and executive functions in polysubstance-using rave attenders. Psychopharmacology, 210(3), 377–392. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-1833-8

Verdejo-García, A., del Mar Sánchez-Fernández, M., Alonso-Maroto, L. M., Fernández-Calderón, F., Perales, J. C., Lozano, Ó., & Pérez-García, M. (2010a). Impulsivity and executive functions in polysubstance-using rave attenders. Psychopharmacology, 210(3), 377–392. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-1833-8

Verdejo-García, A., Lawrence, A. J., & Clark, L. (2008). Impulsivity as a vulnerability marker for substance-use disorders: Review of findings from high-risk research, Problem Gamblers and Genetic Association Studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(4), 777–810. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.11.003

Verdejo-García, A., Lozano, Ó., Moya, M., Alcázar, M. Á., & Pérez-García, M. (2010). Psychometric Properties of a Spanish version of the UPPS–P impulsive behavior scale: Reliability, validity and association with trait and cognitive impulsivity. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92(1), 70–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223890903382369

Yücel, M., Oldenhof, E., Ahmed, S. H., Belin, D., Billieux, J., Bowden-Jones, H., Carter, A., Chamberlain, S. R., Clark, L., Connor, J., Daglish, M., Dom, G., Dannon, P., Duka, T., Fernandez-Serrano, M. J., Field, M., Franken, I., Goldstein, R. Z., Gonzalez, R., … Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2018). A transdiagnostic dimensional approach towards a neuropsychological assessment for addiction: An international delphi consensus study. Addiction, 114(6), 1095–1109. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14424

Zilverstand, A., & Goldstein, R. Z. (2020). Dual models of drug addiction. Cognition and Addiction, 17–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-815298-0.00003-4