The downward spiral from sensation-seeking into addiction. The spiral depicts individuals initiating drug use (large orange arrow) primarily due to positive reinforcement (i.e., seeking the hedonic effects of drugs, such as euphoria, increased energy and alertness, or “the thrill,” which are indicated by yellow shading), which are attributed to acute increases in dopamine (DA, green arrow), norepinephrine (NE, yellow arrow), endogenous opioids (ENK/END/EM, light blue arrow), and acute increases in acetylcholine (ACh, orange arrow). A post-intoxication “crash” follows these acute positive effects due to an “over-correction” by compensatory mechanisms leading to a transient dysphoria (blue-grey shading), which is largely attributed to reduced DA function, ongoing NE activity, and increased dynorphin (DYN, dark blue/purple arrow) and corticotropin releasing factor (CRF, pink arrow) signaling. Neurochemical function and affective state eventually normalize during drug-free periods (white shading between grey arrows). Following repeated use, drug-induced adaptations can also result in the development of psychopathologies and physical symptoms that further reinforce drug use out of negative reinforcement (as depicted by the transition in the spiral from blue to red). A larger proportion of men compared to women may initiate drug use for their positive effects. However, sex differences in the highlighted neurochemical systems may also lead to different trajectories from sensation-seeking toward dependence in men and women. (The magnitude of neurochemical responses is indicated by the relative sizes of the arrows, refer to text for details on sex differences). Modified from Koob and Moal .