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ITTI is an approved NBCC continuing education provider, ACEP #6674; this course is approved by NAADAC, #193785 (expires 5/1/2022) 

DELIVERY METHOD: Self-paced Online
All course material is provided.

Course Description

The neurobiology of addiction course examines why addiction has become a problem in the United States, the combined financial impact of the substance use disorders, and the issue of criminal activity and substance use, which is quite complicated, and on some levels closely parallels the issue of legalization. This course presents the principles of pharmacology that are necessary to understand the actions of each of the drugs of abuse. The topics of drug biotransformation and elimination, as well as the principles of the therapeutic half-lives, as opposed to the elimination half-lives, of these compounds will also be discussed to help you better understand the actions of many of the drugs of abuse on the central nervous system.

This course will review the subjective and objective problems induced by the alcohol use disorders. This will include a review of the consequences of long-term habitual or addictive alcohol use on the human body, and the biological basis for the addiction. The history of narcotic analgesics in the United States and their classification as controlled substances used by physicians for the treatment of pain is explored, as are their medical applications, main effects and side effects. Narcotics as drugs of abuse are also discussed, as well as the scope of narcotics abuse and addiction, why drug abusers like narcotic analgesics and the physical consequences of opiate abuse and addiction are reviewed.

The neurobiology of internet and video game addiction is explored emphasizing the areas of the central nervous system that are involved in the rewards and pleasure areas of the brain that lead to addiction. The strengths and weaknesses of the various theories that psychosocial forces either cause, or at least exacerbate, the substance use disorders or other forms of addiction are discussed. Finally, the concept of intervention is discussed and an overview of the pharmacological treatment of substance use disorders is presented.

Course Objectives

  • Present and discuss addiction as a biopsychosocial phenomenon
  • Present and discuss the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the characteristics of drug users
  • Provide a basic working knowledge of the principles of pharmacology that are necessary to understand the actions of each drug of abuse
  • Present pathways to opioid addiction and factors that increase the risk of addiction
  • Discuss how biological factors are implicated in behavioral patterns that lead to addiction
  • Discuss the neurobiology of video game addiction and its social implications
  • Discuss the relationship between drug use and crime
  • Discuss the concept of intervention, the different forms of intervention, and how the neural mechanisms of addiction are affected by pharmacological treatment

Module 1

Biological Basis of Addiction – Part 1

  • Present the definition of addiction from different sources
  • Discuss difference categories of drugs and their effects on the nervous system
  • Brain regions and their functions
  • Neurotransmitters and their specific function
  • The role of genes
  • Medical consequences

Module 2

  • Biological Basis of Addiction – Part 2
    • Discuss reasons why people use drugs
    • DSM-5 and ICD-10 criteria for substance abuse
    • The methods by which drugs are administered
    • The bioavailability of the drug and the drug half-life
    • Neuropathways implicated in drug abuse

Module 3

  • Drugs and Their Effects on the Nervous System
    • Factors that affect a drug’s effect
    • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
    • The psychological characteristics of the user
    • Drug classification
    • The actions of cocaine, opiates, and marijuana on the brain

Module 4

  • Gambling, Eating Disorders, Shopping, and other Behavioral Addictions
    • Criteria for gambling addiction
    • Screening questions for addiction and treatment issues
    • Eating disorders and interventions
    • Shopping or spending addiction
    • Cyber addiction
    • Sex addiction
    • Cognitive therapy
  • Video Games: Addiction or Entertainment?
    • Internet/video game addition defined
    • DSM-5 criteria for gaming disorder
    • The Evolution of video games
    • Video gamers demographics
    • The biology of video game addiction
    • Factors that facilitate video game addiction
    • Psychosocial consequences of video game addiction

Module 5

  • Social Issues, the Law, and the Psychology of Addiction
    • Understanding drug use and crime
    • Alcohol use and its biopsychosocial effects
    • The debate over medical marijuana
    • The psychology of addiction
  • Opioid Addiction: A Societal Crisis
    • Presenting the opioid crisis in the United States
    • Opioids: What are they?
    • How opioids affect the nervous system
    • How drugs affect the communication system in the brain
    • Reward pathway in the brain
    • The medical consequences of opioid addiction
    • Treatment methods for the addiction of opioids

Module 6

  • Intervention and Treatment
    • Intervention defined
    • The history of intervention
    • The mechanisms of intervention
    • Different forms of intervention
    • Pharmacological treatment