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Psychopharmacology BPS302

The Psychology of Drugs -Online Course

  • Learn about Drugs and their affect on a person's behaviour
  • Explore the scope and nature of legal and illegal drugs and their psychological affects
  • Develop a foundation for working in the care and treatment of drug addictions

COURSE STRUCTURE

The course is divided into eleven lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction: A history of the use and misuse of drugs in society
  2. Effects of drugs on the individual and society
  3. Legally restricted drugs: Stimulants and narcotics
  4. Legally restricted drugs: Hallucinogens and marijuana
  5. Legally restricted drugs: Steroids
  6. Legal drugs: Alcohol
  7. Legal drugs: Tobacco, caffeine and solvents
  8. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  9. Sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs
  10. Prescription drugs for schizophrenia and affective disorders
  11. Treatment and preventative education

AIMS

  • To understand the origins and changes in drug use in society;
  • To identify patterns of drug-taking behaviour;
  • To identify social, psychological and physical consequences of drug-taking on the individual;
  • To understand the effects of stimulants and narcotics on the individual;
  • To understand the effects of hallucinogens and marijuana on the individual;
  • To understand the effects of anabolic steroids on the individual;
  • To determine health and behavioural outcomes of alcohol use and mis-use;
  • To determine health and behavioural outcomes of nicotine, caffeine and solvent use and misuse;
  • To understand the effects of the major categories of OTC drugs and prescription regulations;
  • To understand the effects of sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs on the brain and behaviour;
  • To understand the effects of different types of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs on the brain and behaviour;
  • To describe different methods of treatment and prevention of drug-abuse and to discuss ways of educating the public as to the outcomes of taking drugs.

WHAT YOU WILL DO IN THIS COURSE

  • Explain through case studies the difference between drug abuse and drug misuse;
  • Explain through examples the difference between recreational and instrumental drug-taking;
  • Describe major changes in drug taking behaviour from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century;
  • Investigate why some people are more likely than others to engage in drug abuse behaviour;
  • Contrast the difference of attitudes to drug taking between cultures;
  • Differentiate between drug tolerance and behavioural tolerance;
  • Differentiate between physical and psychological drug dependence;
  • Describe factors contributing to physiological effects of a drug on the body;
  • Learn how psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitters;
  • Consider how personal expectations influence the effects of drug taking;
  • Learn how cocaine affects the mind and body;
  • List side effects of long and short-term amphetamine use;
  • Explain how to treat cocaine and amphetamine users;
  • Explain how heroin affects the mind and body;
  • Describe how narcotics been used successfully in medicine;
  • Describe how opiates affect the brain;
  • Discuss the effectiveness of the main approaches to treating heroin abuse;
  • Discuss the negative effects regular marijuana use has on quality of life;
  • Discuss the use of steroids in sport and drug control of athletes;
  • Identify health, behavioural, and lifestyle outcomes of alcohol use and misuse;
  • Develop a case study of a person being treated with anti-anxiety drugs;
  • Consider how anti-psychotic drugs work in the brain;
  • Identify the three main types of anti-depressants;
  • Identify drugs used to alleviate panic attacks and bipolar disorder;
  • Consider dilemmas faced when trying to test out new drugs for schizophrenia;
  • Discuss the ‘bio-psychosocial’ approach to treatment of drug abuse;
  • Describe the stage theory of treatment and recovery.

Content of each lesson

1. Introduction: A history of the use and misuse of drugs in society
Scope and nature of drugs; legal and illegal
Amphetamine
Cocaine
Crack
LSD
Ritalin
Steroids
How heroin is used
Medical consequences of chronic heroin abuse
Names used for heroin

2. Effects of drugs on the individual and society
Community acceptance
Terminology
Why people use drugs
Addiction; how drugs work in the brain
Central nervous system
Physiological and psychological effects of drugs
Alcohol effects
Sedative effects
Stimulant effects
Hallucinogenics
Psychological effects of drugs

3. Legally restricted drugs: Stimulants and narcotics
Stimulants
Symptoms of abuse
How cocaine is abused
How does cocaine effect the brain
What adverse effects does cocaine have on health
Added danger; cocaethylene
Treatment options
Scope of cocaine abuse
Narcotics
Abuse symptoms
Forms and dangers
Designer drugs
Ecstacy pill

4. Legally restricted drugs: Hallucinogens and marijuana
Effects of hallucinogens
Symptoms of abuse
LSD
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder
Marijuana
Effects of marijuana on the brain
Symptoms of abuse, forms of marijuana and dangers
Phencylidine (PCP)
Symptoms of abuse, forms of PCP and dangers

5. Legally restricted drugs: Steroids
Steroids
Symptoms of abuse, forms of steroids and dangers

6. Legal drugs: Alcohol
Symptoms of abuse and dangers with alcohol
Alcoholism
Staying in control with alcohol
Alcohol amnestic syndrome (Korsakoff's syndrome)
Treating korsakoff's syndrome)
Alcohol and the developing brain

7. Legal drugs: Tobacco, caffeine and solvents
Nicotine addiction
Effects of nicotine on the circulatory system
Caffeine
Caffeine addiction
Solvents (volitile solvent abuse): symptoms and dangers

8. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
Prescription drugs (Over the counter or OTC)
Groups of prescription drugs
Misuse of OTC drugs
Opioids
Treatments for opioid addiction
CNS depressants
Stimulants
Stimulant abuse and treatment for stimulant addiction

9. Sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs
Anti anxiety drugs
Barbituates
Benzodiazepines
Depressants
Rohypnol

10. Prescription drugs for schizophrenia and affective disorders
Schizophrenia
Onset of schizophrenia
Symptoms of schizophrenia
Treatment for schizophrenia
Anti psychotic drugs
Patient support system
Depression
Depressive disorders
Type of depression
Unipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Causes of depression
Anti depressants

11. Treatment and preventative education
Drug addictionBehavioural and psychosocial treatments for drug addiction
Treatments for heroin addiction
Behavioural therapies for heroin addiction
Detoxification

 Extract from the Course Notes

 

What is Cannabis?

Marijuana, also a mind-altering drug, is made from the plant cannabis sativa.  It is the most commonly used illegal drug in the USA.  It affects many skills, including safe driving.  The amount of the main mind-altering psychoactive ingredient, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), determines how strong its effect will be.

Some points on marijuana (cannabis)

  • Cannabis can worsen mental health problems (including schizophrenia) and may even trigger them in some cases.
  • Smoking cannabis increases your chance of getting lung diseases (like chronic bronchitis) and may also cause lung cancer.
  • Some people can get hooked on cannabis and they experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop.
  • The strength of the strongest type of cannabis called sinsemilla (or 'skunk') has roughly doubled in the last 10 years. The strength of other types of cannabis, such as resin or weed, has stayed more or less the same.

Some immediate physical effects of marijuana include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and a dry mouth and throat. No scientific evidence indicates that marijuana improves hearing, eyesight, and skin sensitivity. Studies of marijuana's mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.

The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate.

When marijuana is smoked, THC, its active ingredient, is absorbed by most tissues and organs in the body; however, it is primarily found in fat tissues. The body, in its attempt to rid itself of the foreign chemical, chemically transforms the THC into metabolites. Urine tests can detect THC metabolites for up to a week after people have smoked marijuana.
 
Symptoms of Cannabis Abuse:
  • rapid, loud talking
  • bursts of laughter
  • altered perceptions
  • red eyes
  • dry mouth
  • reduced concentration
  • increased heart rate
  • unusual appetite
Forms: dried tops of leaves of marijuana plant ranging in colour from grey-green to green-brown; smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes or special pipes.

Dangers:  addiction, impaired short-term memory, panic reaction, depression.

 
 
For more information on the range of careers available in psychology, have a look at - http://www.thecareersguide.com/articles.aspx?category=14

 

We have some interesting articles on psychology and counseling at - http://www.acs.edu.au/psychol/

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Fee Information (S3)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $869.00  1 x $790.00
B 2 x $473.00  2 x $430.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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