Psychology: Scope of Substance Abuse Problems in the United States: Trends, Neurobiology and Theories

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About Course

Despite advancements in understanding addictions, substance abuse remains a significant problem for individuals, families, and communities in the United States. This intermediate-level course aims to bring clinicians in varied settings up to date with current trends in use and abuse, and current treatment recommendations. The course provides information on the scope of substance-related problems; categories of commonly abused substances and their neurochemical effects on the brain and an individual's biopsychosocial functioning; and the major theories of addictions.

This course is an extract of, and should not be taken in conjunction with course Substance Use Disorders.

Social Workers participating in this course will receive 1 (clinical) continuing education clock hour upon successful course completion. 

Psychologists will receive 2 CE credits upon successfully completing this course. 

Course Objectives

  • Recognize the scope of substance use problems in the United States.
  • Identify the neurobiologic effects of substances on the human brain.
  • Describe the effect of commonly abused substances on an individual's biopsychosocial functioning.
  • Describe the major theories of addictions and their implications for intervention.

About the Authors

S. Lala A. Straussner, PhD, LCSW, CEAP, BCD, CAS, is a professor in and former chair of the Practice Area, New York University Silver School of Social Work, and the director of that institution's Post-master's Certificate Program in the Clinical Approaches to the Addictions. She has authored numerous publications applying research findings to clinical practice. Dr. Straussner was the 2003 recipient of the Individual Distinction in Addictions Education and Training Award given by the New York Institute of Professional Development in Addictions and was selected as Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Section in 2000. In 2008, she was selected as an Outstanding Teacher at the Silver School of Social Work.

Theodore M. Godlaski, MDiv, CADC, is an associate clinical professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. He teaches courses in psychopathology, substance misuse, intimate violence, and risk management. He is also a senior area editor for the journal Substance Use and Misuse, and has been an editor on two special issues of that journal, one on client engagement and the other on substance use and aggression.

Course Disclosures

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Elite Healthcare ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Elite Healthcare's policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.

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