Abstract Progress continues to be made in clarifying neurobiological factors in alcoholism and other chemical dependencies. Research in animal behavioral genetics and human genetics has revealed substantial genetic predispositions for some cases of alcoholism. Studies of neurotransmitters suggest that some alcoholics may have antecedent deficiencies in one or more important neurochemical systems. Cocaine dependence is considered to be related to biphasic change in sopaminergic neurons and receptor systems. Condensation products such as salsolinol, tetrahydropapaveroline, and beta carbolines can alter alcoholic preference and motivate heavy ethanol consumption in animals. However, hypothesized theoretical mechanisms underlying such increased drinking with infusions of condensation products are unclear and may require revision. New pharmacological treatments stemming from advances in neurobiological research have been applied successfully to treatment of withdrawal states, but none have been demonstrated to be appropriate for long-term maintenance of abstinence.