Abstract Background Several current theories emphasize the role of cognitive control in addiction. The present review evaluates neural deficits in the domains of inhibitory control and error processing in individuals with substance dependence and in those showing excessive addiction-like behaviours. The combined evaluation of event-related potential ERP and functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI findings in the present review offers unique information on neural deficits in addicted individuals. Results The most consistent findings in addicted individuals relative to healthy controls were lower N2, error-related negativity and error positivity amplitudes as well as hypoactivation in the anterior cingulate cortex ACC , inferior frontal gyrus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These neural deficits, however, were not always associated with impaired task performance.