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Drugs, Alcohol & Behavior

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

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Course Description

Drugs and alcohol have been part of the human experience since prehistory. Why are drugs and alcohol so thoroughly entrenched in human society? How do different drug classes affect human behavior? Why do some people abuse drugs, while others never become addicted? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions. This course will cover the function of drugs in human life, the effects of various drug classes on behavior, the hallmarks and symptoms of drug abuse, and current research on treatment of substance use disorders.

This course will provide an introductory overview of the causes and treatment of substance use disorders from an empirical standpoint. We will focus on a conceptual/theoretical framework that integrates the individual’s behavior within the wider context of his or her environment. The effect of drugs on the brain, and the impact of these changes on the behavior of the individual and the trajectory of substance use, will also be placed within this context. The course of substance use disorders and the change from occasional to habitual/compulsory use will be discussed. Evidence-based treatments that have emerged from this framework will be presented and discussed.

By the end of this course, students will have gained a better understanding of:

  • How drugs affect behavior
  • What risk factors influence the development of alcohol and drug abuse behaviors
  • The available treatments for individuals suffering from substance use disorders

An introductory level knowledge of psychology is preferred by not necessary.

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