Drug addiction is a complex disorder that is characterized by compulsivity to seek and take the drug, loss of control in limiting intake of the drug, and emergence of a withdrawal syndrome in the absence of the drug. The transition from casual drug use to dependence is mediated by changes in reward and brain stress functions and has been linked to a shift from positive reinforcement to negative reinforcement. The recruitment of brain stress systems mediates the negative emotional state produced by dependence that drives drug seeking through negative reinforcement mechanisms, defined as the "dark side" of addiction. In this chapter we focus on behavioral and cellular neuropharmacological studies that have implicated brain stress systems (i.e., corticotropin-releasing factor [CRF]) in the transition to addiction and the predominant brain regions involved. We also discuss the implication of CRF recruitment in compulsive eating disorders.