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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Biopsychosocial Effects of Substances: A Lifespan Approach

by Brian Kelley, PhD 5 CE Credits

An estimated 30 million Americans currently suffer from dependency and addiction, a figure that cuts across all sociodemographic categories and places a huge fiscal and personal burden on society. Scientific progress has made the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of substance abuse more effective. In particular, research has shed more light on the role developmental stage plays in the substance abuse process. This course is designed to introduce health professionals to the fundamental biopsychosocial concepts of chemical dependency across the lifespan. Specifically, a theory- and evidence-based overview of the concept of addiction, the history of addiction treatment, basic types of drugs and their distinct effects, and implications for treatment planning and delivery are presented emphasizing important risk factors and substance abuse problems prevalent at each stage of development.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 5 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Overview
  • Defining Abuse, Dependence and Addiction
  • Biological Mechanisms Underlying Drug Dependence
  • Biological Consequences
  • Impact on the System
  • Drug-Specific Review
  • The Psychosocial Determinants of Dependence
  • Drug Abuse across Development
  • Treatment Programs
  • Future Directions
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Describe the 3 fundamental concepts of chemical dependency as they relate to the historical context, biological context, and correlates/impact of substances on the system.
  • Recognize the contribution of pharmacokinetics (i.e., absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination) in substance abuse.
  • Discuss how 7 influential psychosocial aspects (i.e., dispositional traits, familial environment, cognitive-behavioral factors, comorbidity, ethnicity, social economic status, developmental age, gender) may play a role in the development and maintenance of substance abuse and dependence across the lifespan.
  • Apply these principles toward treatment planning, models of treatment, and interventions across the lifespan.