Recent Blog Articles

Harvard Health Blog

Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit

June 26, 2020

About the Author

photo of Maria Mavrikaki, PhD

Maria Mavrikaki, PhD, Contributor

Maria Mavrikaki, PhD, studied psychology and neuroscience at the University of Crete in Greece. After obtaining her PhD, she pursued a postdoctoral research fellow position at The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, where she utilized genetic … See Full Bio
View all posts by Maria Mavrikaki, PhD


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


Mary Bonnette, Ph.D
July 6, 2020

Cordelia Rocco asked about stages of addiction. S. Moner in 1996 (Journal of Addictive Diseases, 15,(3), 79-100) divides drug treatment into three stages: detoxification, rehabilitation, and relapse prevention.

Cordelia Rocco
June 29, 2020

Is there any research on stages of addiction? If so, is treatment more successful at certain stages? I am also interested to know if the concept of a malignant addiction has been considered? Anecdotally I believe I have observed these phenomena. Thank you.

Maria Mavrikaki
June 29, 2020

Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the earlier in the disease the treatment starts the higher the chances to have positive outcomes. NIDA offers the following “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide”:

How do you define “malignant addiction”?
NIDA defines addiction as the most severe, chronic stage of substance use disorder which is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and taking despite the adverse consequences. Thus, by definition, it is a non-advantageous condition.

Laurel Myers Hurst
June 27, 2020

As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, I lead drumming together in the Ohio State University Addiction Medicine Center. I see, from this article, how drumming together serves as a form of learning-based therapy as described by Ascenso, Perkins, Atkins, Fancourt & Williamon, 2018.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.