GENERAL COURSE DESCRIPTION
Advances in neuroscience have sharpened our understanding of how alcohol affects the brain. This explosion of knowledge enables therapists to move their understanding and ways of talking about alcohol abuse with their clients away from the subjective values and fuzzy measurements that often fail to break through their denial. By bringing the latest scientific knowledge and clarity into their discussions, therapists can explain to clients and their families not just how alcohol affects behavior and relationships but also how it alters and damages the most basic architecture and functioning of the human brain on every level, from regions of the brain, to neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and down to the most basic cellular level, where the manufacture of neurotransmitters and the brain cells which transmit and receive them are affected. The new knowledge also helps therapists more accurately diagnose and differentiate between alcohol use and abuse, and it can better inform therapists' treatment decisions and recommendations.
This advanced level course has five parts. Part One offers an overview of how alcohol affects the brain and behavior and is useful for therapists and as a handout for clients. Part Two presents precise details on the neurochemistry of how alcohol affects the brain on cellular and regional levels. Part Three presents an overview of the pharmacology for alcoholism treatment and examines the promise of a new medication, baclofen. Part Four presents a balancing viewpoint to the course material by offering a harm reduction critique of warnings of permanent brain damage. Part Five presents additional resources for therapists and clients, which include treatment and support resources and an extensive bibliography for further reading on the neurobiology of alcoholism.
Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope.