A lot of addictions research focuses on understanding, assessing, and treating addictive behaviors, so as to improve programs and treatment strategies. Researchers are currently studying the pharmacological and psychosocial models in animals, human laboratories, and in clinical trials. They are also studying the effects of mental health and physical disorders on the vulnerability and final outcomes in addicted individuals.
An important area of addictions research is on pregnant women who are dependent on various substances such as tobacco, heroin, or alcohol. Researchers are studying the effects of prenatal substance abuse on the fetus, and how these effects can be mitigated. These people are often working in collaboration with those in pharmacy, gynecology, and toxicology. See the article on substance abuse counseling for more information.
Other research projects are attempting to improve the understanding of the characteristics of problem gambling, with a particular focus on the dysfunctional thought process common to pathological gamblers. Researchers are developing and evaluating new treatment protocols, as well as programs and resources to prevent the onset of problem gambling. A particular emphasis is on electronic forms of gambling and how this format is conducive to contributing to fueling addictions.