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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.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours and ASWB CE clock hours (Substance Abuse). NYSED CEs are NOT approved for this online course.


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.