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Implications from addiction research towards the understanding and treatment of obesity


Falk Kiefer, University of Heidelberg, Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, J5; 68159 Mannheim, Germany. E-mail:


Recent research indicates similarities between obesity and addictive disorders on both the phenomenological and neurobiological level. In particular, neuroendocrine and imaging studies suggest a close link between the homeostatic regulation of appetite on the on hand, and motivation and reward expectancy on the other. In addition, findings from neuropsychological studies additionally demonstrate alterations of cognitive function in both obesity and addictive disorders that possibly contribute to a lack of control in resisting consumption. In this review, recent findings on overlapping neurobiological and phenomenological pathways are summarized and the impact with regard to new treatment approaches for obesity is discussed.