Research & Publications
My research focuses on how non-substance ("behavioral") addictions are similar to and different from substance addictions. We use brain imaging, genetic, clinical, pharmacological, behavioral and epidemiological approaches to study this topic. We are also interested how individual differences related to impulsivity and gender, for example, influence non-substance and substance addictions.
Specialized Terms: Pathological gambling; Impulse control disorders; Substance abuse; Addiction; Gender differences
Extensive Research Description
Dr. Potenza's research has focused on the neurobiology and treatment of substance and non-substance addictions and other disorders characterized by impaired impulse control, particularly the disorders characterized in DSM-IV as “Impulse Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified” and in DSM-5 and ICD-11 as behavioral addictions. He has focused on internet use behaviors and disorders such as gaming disorder and problematic pornography use, as well as compulsive sexual behavior disorder, binge eating disorder and food addiction. He has investigated mechanisms underlying the treatment of cocaine and opioid use disorders, as well as the neural correlates of prenatal cocaine use. Much of this work has focused on understanding clinical and neurobiological underpinnings of these disorders and experiences, and their co-occurrences with other mental health disorders, in order to advance prevention and treatment strategies. Dr. Potenza's research has applied brain imaging, genetic, epidemiological and clinical trials methodologies to gain knowledge and improve prevention and treatment strategies for addictive disorders. This work has also involved a specific focus on gender and identifying potential intermediary phenotypes, like facets of impulsivity, that may in part explain the high rates of co-occurrence between addictive disorders and other mental health conditions, and might represent novel targets for prevention and treatment strategies.
Child Psychiatry; Gambling; Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders; Neurobiology; Psychiatry; Psychotherapy; Substance-Related Disorders; Psychiatry and Psychology