Skip to main content

PSY 454: Psychology of Addiction

Course Description

This course will investigate a broad range of addictions including psychoactive substances (eg., alcohol, opioids, stimulants, etc.) and process addictions (eg., gambling, internet gaming). The complex biopsychosocial disease process of addiction will be investigated. There will be emphasis on the physiological brain responses and health consequences of substance use disorders. Students will learn how to apply the criteria for diagnosis of substance use disorders and distinguish between substance use disorders and other compulsive behaviors, such as binge-eating disorder and trichotillomania. (3 credits)

Prerequisites

  • PSY 101: Psychology
  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills in psychology and particularly in the assessment of drug regulation, popular media reports, and personal ideas related to addiction, treatment and recovery.
  2. Explain the major risk factors for developing a SUD and enumerate the particular risks of multiple classes of substances.
  3. Evaluate the similarities and differences among psychoactive substance addiction, process addictions, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and feeding and eating related disorders.
  4. Apply principles of pharmacokinetics, homeostasis, and allostasis to psychoactive substance and process addictions.
  5. Analyze the process by which multiple drugs (including alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and new psychoactive substances) of abuse disrupt the central nervous system in general and neurotransmission in particular, identify brain regions most impaired by addictive disorders.
  6. Apply the diagnostic criteria of the DSM5 to case studies of clients with substance use disorders.
  7. Apply APA Style Guide formatting requirements.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignments

Weight

Discussions (Week 1-8) - Lowest Disussion Grade Dropped

30%

Writing Assignments (Weeks 2, 4 & 5)

20%

Quizzes (Weeks 1-7) - Lowest Quiz Grade Dropped

20%

Research Paper (Week 8)

30%

Total

100%

Required Textbook

Available through https://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/vbm/vb_home.php?FVCUSNO=35478
  • Maisto, S and M. Galizio (2019). Drug Use and Abuse - with MindTap access. 8th ed. Cengage Learning. ISBN-10: 1-337-74519-7 or ISBN-13: 978-1-337-74519-2  [Looseleaf version]
  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. American Psychiatric Press Inc. ISBN-10: 0-89042-555-8 or ISBN-13: 978-0-89042-555-8

Additional Resources

Course Schedule

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignments

1

1,2,6

Topics:

  • Scientific attitude
  • Scope of the problem
  • Historical underpinnings
  • Diagnosis
  • Regulation
  • Treatment vs self help

Readings:

  • Chapters 1, 2
  • DSM5
    • Cultural Issues/Gender Differences
    • Approach to Clinical Case Formulation/Definition of a Mental Disorder/Criterion for Clinical Significance

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 1
  • Read assigned material
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Take the quiz

2

1,4,5,7

Topics:

  • Homeostasis/Allostasis
  • Neurotransmissions and Neurotransmitters
  • Dopamine
  • Old Brain/New Brain

Readings:

  • Chapters 3 & 4

 Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 2
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Submit essay assignment
  • Take quiz

3

2,4,5,6

Topics:

  • Alcohol
  • Sedative-hypnotics (aka - benzodiazepines, anxiolytics)
  • Synergistic effect

Readings:

  • Chapters 9 & 13 (starting on page 333 – Antianxiety Agents – to p. 347 – end at Mood Stabilizing Drugs)
  • DSM5
    • Alcohol Use Disorders
    • Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytic Use Disorder

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 3
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Take the quiz

4

1,2,5,7

Topics:

  • Major Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine)
  • Steroids
  • Nicotine

Readings:

  • Chapters 6 & 7 & 14 (Steroids pp. 358-362)
  • NIDA Research Report
  • DSM5 –
    • Stimulant Use Disorder
    • Nicotine Use Disorder

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 4
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Submit draft of the paper (you will only be graded on APA format, References, and introductory paragraph, but the more complete your draft the more editing assistance and feedback will be provided)

5

1,2,3,4,5,7

Topics:

  • Opioids
  • Epidemic
  • Medication assisted treatment

Readings:

  • Chapter 10
  • DSM5 – Opioid Use Disorder (pp. 541-549)

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 5
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Take the quiz
  • Submit essay

6

1,2,4,5

Topics:

  • Marijuana
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids
  • Inhalants

Readings:

  • Chapters 11 and 14 (pp. 370-372)
  • DSM5 – Cannabis Use Disorder
  • DSM5 – Inhalant Use Disorder

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 6
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Take the quiz

7

3,4,6

Topics:

  • Hallucinogens

Readings:

  • Chapter 12
  • DSM5 –
    • Phencyclidine Use Disorder (pp. 520-523)
    • Other Hallucinogen Use Disorder (pp. 523-527)

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 7
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Take the quiz

8

1,3,5,6,7

Topics:

  • Gambling
  • Internet Gaming Disorder
  • Binge Eating Disorder

Readings:

  • Chapter 12
  • DSM5 –
    • Gambling Disorder
    • Internet Gaming Disorder
    • Binge-Eating Disorder
    • Trichotillomania

Exercises:

  • Engage all links/content in Week 8
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in the discussion
  • Engage the lecture material and all course content
  • Submit research paper on Wednesday by midnight
  • Take the quiz

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.