As with other addictions, human alcoholism is characterised as a chronically relapsing condition. Consequently, the "holy grail" from a therapeutic viewpoint is the development of clinically effective, safe drugs that promote high compliance rates and prevent relapse. Here we discuss the potential of therapeutics targeting neuropeptide systems implicated in aberrant alcohol-seeking behaviour. Clearly, much of the data so far available comes from preclinical studies; however, one of the first effective therapeutic strategies for alcoholism (still in use today) was the use of non-selective opioid receptor antagonists, such as naltrexone (Revia™). In addition to opioid receptors, other neuropeptide receptors including those for corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF), neuropeptide Y and nociceptin may represent valid therapeutic targets to regulate alcohol consumption and the affective consequences of alcohol withdrawal.