This course is based upon material published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is available on their website.
From the Preface:
Throughout much of the last century, scientists studying drug abuse labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When science began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society’s responses to drug abuse, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punitive rather than preventative and therapeutic actions. Today, thanks to science, our views and our responses to drug abuse have changed dramatically. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of drug addiction, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior. We have identified many of the biological and environmental factors and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug abuse takes on individuals, families, and communities.
Despite these advances, many people today do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse. This booklet aims to fill that knowledge gap by providing scientific information about the disease of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug abuse and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat the disease. At the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), we believe that increased understanding of the basics of addiction will empower people to make informed choices in their own lives, adopt science-based policies and programs that reduce drug abuse and addiction in their communities, and support scientific research that improves the Nation’s well-being.
This course on substance abuse and the brain is suitable for chemical dependency specialists, addiction counselors, clinical social workers, psychologists, nurses, and professional counselors who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of the relationship between drugs, the brain, behavior and addiction. This course is a colorful and easy to read booklet produced by NIDA that presents complex material in a simple and easy to read format. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require continuing education courses for license renewal.
Authors: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding the relationship between drugs, the brain and behavior. Specifically, a professional will:
· Describe the effect drugs have on specific parts of the brain.
· Identify effective strategies for the prevention of drug abuse
· Identify effective strategies for the treatment of substance abuse.
Citation: National Institute on Drug Abuse (2010). Drugs, Brains and Behavior The Science of Addiction. NIH Pub No. 10-5605 first printed 2007. Revised 2010