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Tryptophan and Substance Abuse: Mechanisms and Impact.

Addiction, the continuous misuse of addictive material, causes long-term dysfunction in the neurological system. It substantially affects the control strength of reward, memory, and motivation. Addictive substances (alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, heroin, methamphetamine (METH), and nicotine) are highly active central nervous stimulants. Addiction leads to severe health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, serious infections, and pulmonary/dental diseases. Drug dependence may result in unfavorable cognitive impairments that can continue during abstinence and negatively influence recovery performance. Although addiction is a critical global health challenge with numerous consequences and complications, currently, there are no efficient options for treating drug addiction, particularly METH. Currently, novel treatment approaches such as psychological contingency management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement strategies are of great interest. Herein, we evaluate the devastating impacts of different addictive substances/drugs on users' mental health and the role of tryptophan in alleviating unfavorable side effects. The tryptophan metabolites in the mammalian brain and their potential to treat compulsive abuse of addictive substances are investigated by assessing the functional effects of addictive substances on tryptophan. Future perspectives on developing promising modalities to treat addiction and the role of tryptophan and its metabolites to alleviate drug dependency are discussed.

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