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Reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) is a term that connects addictive, compulsive, and impulsive behavioral disorders. This group of behaviors has been associated with genetic variants and epigenetic (environmental) changes that result in an inadequacy in the neurotransmission of reward or pleasure. The RDS concept included here was developed based on animal and human research that explored behavioral genetics and the molecular biology of neurotransmission. Understanding this concept, explained in the following paragraphs, is central to treating the abnormal psychology of personality and autism spectrum disorders, as well as substance and process (behavioral) addictions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For one to feel ordinary pleasure, complex interactions of neurotransmitters ultimately regulate the dopaminergic activity of the brain in the reward center—the mesolimbic system including the nucleus ...

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