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At Oct. 8 lecture at GCSOM, psychiatrist and addiction expert Petros Levounis, MD will discuss new understanding and approach to addiction

Petros Levounis, MD, will deliver a talk exploring new discoveries in the understanding and treatment of addiction on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) in Scranton. The presentation, “The New Neurobiology of Addiction,” is the eighth installment in GCSOM’s Preventive Medicine Lecture series, established in 2016. The lecture is free and open to the public.

During the lecture, Dr. Levounis will explore the traditional understanding of addiction and how new discoveries about the brain are challenging some long-held assumptions about treatment. “From a neurobiological perspective, addiction can be seen as the hijacking of the pleasure-reward pathways of the brain with a concomitant weakening of its executive function,” he said. “In 2019, the fundamental model has been expanded to include newer concepts such as motivational circuitry and anti-reward pathways. These discoveries are changing the landscape of addiction and its treatment.” Motivational circuitry includes the role experiences play in interacting with the brain’s reward system, while the anti-reward pathways refer to areas of the brain that produce powerful negative emotions that drive a person to avoid certain behaviors.

Dr. Levounis is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, as well as chief of service, University Hospital, Newark, New Jersey. Previously, Dr. Levounis was  Columbia University’s director of the Addiction Institute of New York from 2002 to 2013. He is an expert in the field of addiction and has published 13 books, including the self-help paperback “Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister—and Not Lose Yourself.”

Dr. Levounis’s lecture will take place at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, 525 Pine Street, Scranton at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The event is free but reservations are required. To RSVP, visit


About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) is a member of the Geisinger family. GCSOM offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a portfolio of graduate degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the nonprofit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 126 care sites — including 10 hospital campuses — and Geisinger Health Plan, with more than half a million members in commercial and government plans. Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $15 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country. Learn more at or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

Petros Levounis, MD, MA
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
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